Source: Alberta Energy Regulator

AER Responds to Auditor General's Audit of Pipeline Safety and Will Support Recommendations Made to the Government of Alberta on Dam Safety

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - March 11, 2015) - The Alberta Energy Regulator has accepted all of the recommendations made by the Alberta Auditor General following an audit on pipeline safety that was released earlier today.

Alberta Energy Regulator Pipeline Safety Audit

The Auditor General's pipeline safety audit found that the AER has well-functioning pipeline regulation systems, noting that "Albertans can be assured that the regulator is performing its essential function of overseeing pipeline safety and reliability in Alberta." The audit made six recommendations for improvement focused on surveillance and enforcement activities.

"I'm pleased that the Auditor General has expressed confidence in the Alberta Energy Regulator's oversight of pipeline safety in Alberta," said President and CEO Jim Ellis. "While we welcome the opportunity to continuously improve our work, Albertans can be assured that we will continue to ensure the safe, environmentally responsible development of our energy resources."

The AER has begun implementing changes to pipeline regulation as a result of the audit process and its findings, including improvements in surveillance and enforcement, establishing performance measures and targets and enhanced training for AER staff.

Auditor General's Audit of Alberta Government's Dam Safety Program

Also today, the Auditor General released its audit of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Development's management of the province's Dam Safety Program.

In 2014, the AER accepted responsibility for the regulation of all dams related to development of Alberta's energy resources. The transition of these responsibilities was completed in September 2014. The AER regulates 65 of the approximately 1500 dams in Alberta - 40 of those 65 dams are related to oil sands development while the remaining 25 are related to coal mining. A list of Alberta's oil sands dams can be found below.

"The Auditor General's recommendations related to dam safety will be applied to the AER's regulatory oversight of dams related to energy development as part of our mandate to ensure the safe, environmentally responsible development of energy resources for Albertans," said Ellis. "The Auditor General has recognized the AER's pipeline regulation performance, and Albertans can be confident that we will apply that same rigour to all AER-regulated dams."

In May 2015, the AER will launch an inspection program to ensure the integrity of all AER-regulated dams, including a review of past inspection data from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. This inspection program is expected to be complete by the end of October 2015, and the results will be made public.

Copies of the Auditor General's reports can be found at

The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.


AER Regulated Dams

Oil Sands Dams (very high to extreme consequence)

Company Operations Structure Consequence
Annual Performance Report (APR)/Dam Safety Review (DSR)
Syncrude Mildred Lake Mildred Lake
Settling Basin
Extreme APR 2013-14
West In-pit NS
End Enclosure
Extreme APR 2013-14
Southwest I.P.
North End Dam
Extreme APR 2012-13
Southwest Berm
Very High APR 2013-14
Coke Cell 5 Extreme APR 2013-14
Southwest Sand
Storage Facility
Extreme APR 2013-14
DSR 2013
EIP Highway 63 Berm Extreme APR 2013-14
EIP North
Closure Dam
Extreme APR 2013-14
EIP Boundary
Dyke Facility
Extreme APR 2013-14
Mildred Lake Dam Very High No APR/DSR
Beaver Creek
Very High APR 2013-14
Aurora North Aurora Settling Basin Extreme APR 2013-14
Suncor Lease 86/17 Pond 1 Extreme DSR 2014
Pond 1a Extreme DSR 2014
Pond 2/3 Extreme APR 2013-14
Pond 4, 4G, 4G2 Extreme APR 2012-13
Pond 5 Extreme APR 2012-13
Pond 6 Extreme APR 2012-13
Millenium Mine Pond 7 Extreme APR 2013-14
Pond 8 Extreme APR 2012-13
Pond 8a Extreme APR 2013-14
Pond 8b Extreme APR 2013-14
South Tailings Pond Extreme APR 2012-13
Shell Muskeg River Mine External Tailings
Facility (ETF)
Extreme APR 2013-14
South Expansion
Area (SEA)
Extreme APR 2013-14
In-Pit Dykes (1, 2, 2i,
3S, 3N)
Very High APR 2013-14
Jackpine Mine External Tailings
Facility (ETF)
Extreme APR 2013-14
In-Pit Dykes Very High Design Stage
Suncor Fort Hills Out-of-pit Tailing
Area (OPTA)
Extreme Design Stage
CNRL Horizon Pond 1 (Dyke 10) Extreme DSR 2013
Horizon Dam Extreme APR 2013-14
Imperial Oil Kearl Project External Tailings
Area (ETA)
Extreme APR 2013-14

Contact Information:

Bob Curran, AER Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 403-297-3392
Media line: 1-855-474-6356