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In some parts of the province, we have special regulatory requirements for development. These requirements, set out in subsurface orders, adapt our subsurface regulatory requirements for specific geological zones over specific geographic areas to better suit both the energy resource being developed and the resource development practices being used in that area.

We determine areas for subsurface orders based on

  • geological parameters,
  • engineering and reservoir characteristics,
  • our existing decisions and approvals, and
  • industry activity and forecasts.

The AER has created specific seismic protocols for these areas to limit the impact and potential of induced earthquakes from hydraulic fracturing. Each protocol sets different “traffic light” systems for these areas based on their geology and surface structures (e.g., hydroelectric dams), which companies must follow for monitoring and reporting seismic activity to the AER.

The subsurface orders in the table below apply to companies interested in developing projects, producing resources, or gathering data in the geological zones identified. Learn more about the other orders we issue to ensure that companies comply with our requirements.

Order no. Zone Supporting information Date
Subsurface Order No. 1B [rescinds No. 1A] Montney-Lower Doig   FAQ - updated February 2018 February 23, 2018
Subsurface Order No. 2 Duvernay
(central Alberta)
FAQ February 19, 2015
Subsurface Order No. 3A  [rescinds No. 3] Duvernay
(central Alberta)
FAQ - updated February 2018 February 23, 2018
Subsurface Order No. 4 Coalbed methane  FAQ September 29, 2016
Subsurface Order No. 5 Cardium 
(western Alberta)
FAQ - updated February 2018 September 29, 2016
Subsurface Order No. 6 Brazeau   May 27, 2019
Subsurface Order No.7 Red Deer   December 9, 2019