The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board regulates all energy-related operations, including bitumen and heavy oil recovery activities, in the province of Alberta. With the high petroleum commodity prices in recent years, activity and investment levels in this sector have increased dramatically and are forecast to increase even more in the foreseeable future. New and innovative technology is moving rapidly from the laboratories to field implementation to increase recovery rates, improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs.
This paper presents a brief overview of the current regulatory process for the in situ thermal bitumen recovery sector. There is a discussion on the major regulatory issues associated with the in situ bitumen recovery projects. A summary of the bitumen reserve statistics and production forecasts, broken down to the recovery technologies, is also provided.