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CPS430 - Friday, January 22, 2021   

What is a Flare Permit?

As stated in AER Directive 60, the following is required:


  1. Operators must obtain a permit to flare or incinerate sour gas containing more than 50 mol/kmol H2S (5%) of sour gas from any well classified as a critical sour well.
  2. Operators must obtain a permit for temporary flaring or incinerating of natural gas if a gas well test volumes exceed the volume allowance threshold. This is based on the volume of gas flowed back from the well (does not include fuel gas added) regardless of composition.
  3. The volume allowance threshold is defined in 3 tiers and apply to gas well tests only. The 3 tiers include:
    • Tier 1 ≤ 600 103 m3

      The Tier 1 allowance applies to wells that have not been tied in and have a Lahee classification of New Field Wildcat (NFW), New Pool Wildcat (NPW), Deeper Pool Test (DPT) or Outpost (OUT).
    • Tier 2 ≤ 400 103 m3

      The Tier 2 allowance applies to wells that have not been tied in and have been assigned a Lahee classification (including Development) not listed in the Tier 1 allowance (excluding Re-entry (REN) and Experimental (EX) wells). The volume allowance threshold for a Re-entry well is the same tier allowance that applied to the well before it was reclassifies as a Re-entry. Experimental wells have the same tier allowance that applied to the well before it was reclassifies as Experimental or that normally would have applied to the well had it not been classified as Experimental.
    • Tier 3 ≤ 200 103 m3

      The Tier 3 allowance applies to any well that has been tied into facilities appropriately designed to handle production from the formation being tested (eg. sweet versus sour service).
  4. Permits can be completed before, after or at the same time as landowner and area occupant notifications.

AER and Oil & Gas Conservation Regulations

Section 7.055 of the Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations requires that prior approval of the AER must be obtained for well test flaring where the gas contains more that 50 moles H2S per kilomole of gas or where the well is classified as a critical sour well.

All sour well test flare permit applications must include the following:

Requests for temporary permits must be submitted to the AER Operations Group and must include complete information on the proposed activity and summarized as follows:
  1. A cover letter requesting a permit informing the AER Operations Group of any public objections and/or concerns to the proposed flaring/incineration activities.
  2. Information about the site where flaring/incinerating will occur, including location, Lahee classification and related maps.
  3. A evaluation of the most feasible option for in-line testing.
  4. Information on planned flaring/incinerating, including reasons for the activity (eg. well testing, completions or pipeline depressuring), H2S content, flow rates, total volumes and the type of combustion device used (flare or incinerator).
  5. Information on the operatorís assessment of impacts on ambient air quality including results of dispersion modelling for SO2.
  6. In situation where there is potential to exceed the AERís low risk criteria for SO2 information on the operatorís proposed air quality management plan to prevent exceedances.

Any inconsistencies in the request or modelling will result in the request being rejected and returned to the operator. The temporary permit request can be submitted electronically by the operator. The permit will be in the name of the operator. Description of any previous flaring at the well (this must include the type of operation, and flare permit approval number and date)

Further information can be obtained from the AER's web site.

Permit applications involving complex terrain and/or refined modelling assessment must include the following materials:

  1. Description of the meteorological data source (location, years, months).
  2. Wind rose;
  3. Summary of the source parameters (note that a printed copy of the input file is preferred; output files may be large and need not be submitted);
  4. Maximum predicted concentration.
  5. If exceedances are predicted, a statement as to the overall probability of exceedance of 450 mg/m ground-level ambient concentration;
  6. Interpretation of the modelling results (output files or model result printouts may be included if not excessively large).

Applications with management plans must include sufficient information so that AER staff can assess the plans, including the following as appropriate:

  1. Summary table of output, including
    • Meteorological conditions (stability class and range of wind speeds) that result in predicted exceedances of 450 mg/m.
    • Maximum predicted SO2 concentration for each stability class where guideline exceedances are predicted.
  2. Area map (with a minimum 7 km radius) showing locations of
    • predicted SO2 ground-level concentration isopleths in excess of 450 mg/m3
    • predicted SO2 ground-level concentration isopleths in excess of 900 mg/m3
    • location of maximum predicted concentrations.
  3. Information on the expected overall probability of exceedances, including a plot of the exceedance probability each receptor location.
  4. If flaring restrictions are proposed, map showing sectors with flaring restrictions
  5. If mobile monitors are proposed, a map showing locations accessible with a mobile monitoring unit;
  6. If stationary monitors are proposed,
    • map showing approximate location of proposed stationary monitors,
    • if available, a recent air photo showing approximate location of proposed stationary monitors, and
    • specification of monitor location in a format usable by the monitoring operator (e.g., U.T.M. coordinates, latitude, and longitude) and an acceptable offset distance if required to improve access or telemetry line of site.
  7. Description of the management plan, if applicable, including an electronic Microsoft Word or Excel file copy of the decision tree.

Further information can be obtained from the AER's web site.