• Whitney McKenzie & Dayna Morgan

Integrated Decision Approach – What are the impacts?!

Alberta’s energy landscape is evolving quickly. Since 2014 much has changed in terms of how the industry operates as companies react and adapt quickly to economic, social, environmental and legal changes. Industry and regulators are under increased scrutiny as energy development has become larger and more complex.

Today, the energy industry is facing unprecedented challenges as stakeholder interests and expectations continue to grow. Messages around environmental impacts, Indigenous rights, area land use, cumulative effects, politics and globalism are coalescing and impacting the way that businesses and governments interact with the public. Our industry has captured the attention of Canadians and international audiences.

In response to this shift, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has been developing a new approach to Oil and Gas development in Alberta through the launch of their Integrated Decision Approach (IDA). The IDA will be a single application for multiple activities that considers an entire project – from how it will be built to how it will be decommissioned, and everything in between. The IDA framework takes a broader perspective and aims to consider the cumulative effects of resource development in a specific area so that stakeholders and the AER can make informed decisions that best suit the needs of an area and its communities. https://www.aer.ca/applications-and-notices/integrated-decision-approach

On June 26, 2017 the latest iteration of the IDA was introduced to industry. OneStop is an online platform which will become the main tool for applications related to well, pipeline or facility projects. At this time OneStop is only handling new pipeline applications.

As a result of changes to this new application process, the AER will be engaging key stakeholders (industry, public, Indigenous communities, municipalities, etc.) to explore how proponents can more effectively engage and involve stakeholders in project planning and development through a life-cycle approach. Ensure your voice is heard. Regulators are reviewing current requirements for engagement and participant involvement, like those outlined in Directive 056. At BRITT we are engaging in this process to learn as much as possible, chat with our clients and regulators, share insights and impacts, and proactively plan for upcoming changes.

Shift happens... This shift in focus to provide information and engage with stakeholders on a project in its entirety will present new opportunities and challenges for proponents, as well as serious risks for those who fail to consider a project’s non-technical risks. Proponents will need to be more strategic, engage early, and put increased effort and planning into building trust with the communities in which they operate, to avoid delays and the associated costs.

We are here to help! BRITT’s leaders in Land and Engagement are supporting our clients through this transitional period. Join us at the CAPL Conference on Thursday Sep 21st to hear Jan Palsen and Jamie Legarie with the AER discuss the IDA and impacts to Participant Involvement.

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