Year In review:
on our results

Since the AER’s launch in 2013, we have promised that we will be transparent and accountable. Keeping that promise means reporting on our results and showing where we have made progress over the last year, where we are meeting the goals we have set, and where we need to improve.

When we developed the 2017–20 Strategic Plan, we examined the work we needed to focus on based on our four pillars: protective, effective, efficient, and credible. The plan included our strategic priorities, outcomes, and performance measures to ensure that we stay on track and demonstrate our results.

What follows is just that—our performance report to Albertans, indigenous peoples, and our stakeholders.

PROTECTIVE: Develop an integrated whole-system regulatory approach

Strategic outcomeFocused outcomesMeasureTargetStatus
Effective management of public safety and of cumulative environmental risks and impactsSustainable water useVolume of all water used (by source) for hydraulic fracturing, enhanced oil recovery, in situ oil sands, and mineable oil sandsPublic reporting of water use by industryTarget met: The Alberta Energy Industry Water Use Performance Report, released in May 2017, shows how water is allocated and used to recover oil, gas, and oil sands resources.
Reduce fluid tailings accumulation over the mine lifeTotal annual volume of fluid tailings, treated fluid tailings, and fines capturesEnsure industry complies with established performance standardsOngoing: Tailings management plan applications, which establish performance requirements, are reviewed upon receipt.
Climate change—reduce methane emissionsVolume of methane emissionsSupport multistakeholder engagementOngoing: The Government of Alberta is leading the multistakeholder engagement through the Methane Reduction Oversight Committee. The AER provides support.
Ensure that industry complies with established performance standardsOngoing: A requirements and associated compliance assurance plan and reporting system is being developed.
Climate change—oil sands emissionsVolume of oil sands emissionsEstablish a tracking and reporting system for oil sands emissionsOngoing: This is a Government of Alberta initiative, which the AER supported by providing input.
Cumulative effects managementCumulative effects are managedDevelop a framework to manage cumulative effectsTarget met: A framework has been developed, and an implementation plan is being executed by the AER.

EFFECTIVE: Strengthen risk-based regulation

Strategic outcomeFocused outcomesMeasureTargetStatus
Effective management of resource conservation and minimize financial liability on AlbertansReduce aging inventoryComplete a risk assessment of energy-related infrastructure by March 2018Address high-risk items as they are identifiedOngoing: 93% of wells deemed high risk through Directive 013 are compliant.

The Inactive Well Compliance Program achieved 67% compliance (an 11% increase from the previous year).
Pipeline safetyNumber of high-consequence pipeline incidents2% reduction in high-consequence pipeline incidents from the previous two-year averageTarget met: 26% reduction in high-consequence pipeline incidents.

EFFICIENT: Transform Alberta’s energy regulatory system to improve efficiency

Strategic outcomeFocused outcomesMeasureTargetStatus
The regulatory system is efficient, minimizing duplication, with highly efficient processes, and only intervening to the level necessaryRegulatory efficiencyStakeholder savings resulting from reduced regulatory burden that does not negatively impact the environment or public safety$100 million in incremental savings to stakeholders in fiscal 2017/18Target met: $143 million in industry-verified savings in the 2017/18 fiscal year.
Improve efficiency of AER application decisionsSingle decision-making framework for wells, facilities, and pipelines available for use by external parties not later than December 31, 2018Ongoing: Pipeline licensing was transitioned into OneStop in 2017. Decision timelines were reduced by 67–99% based on the amount of review required.

CREDIBLE: Transform Alberta’s energy regulatory system to improve efficiency

Strategic outcomeFocused outcomesMeasureTargetStatus
Stakeholders are confident about how energy is developed in AlbertaEffective engagement of Albertans, indigenous peoples, and stakeholdersPercentage of Albertans aware of the AER who express confidence in the organization’s ability to fulfil its mandateMaintain a confidence score above 80% annuallyTarget met: 81% of Albertans are confident that the regulator is delivering on its mandate, while 72% of stakeholders express confidence, with varied rankings among specific groups (e.g., landowners, industry, and indigenous peoples).

*As the AER moves to a new strategic plan, we will continue to track “overall confidence” but will focus on earning “strong confidence” scores (i.e., a rating of 7–10), where we will work to ensure that a majority of Albertans express strong confidence in the regulator.
Achieve regulatory excellenceLevels of skill and competencyClose high-priority skill and capability gaps through the implementation of the Enterprise Learning Branch in 2017/18Target met: Enterprise Learning transferred to People, Culture & Learning. Priority training program implemented.
Employee engagementAchieve 83% engagement in 2017/18Target not met: Engagement survey score 78.3%.

Leadership is addressing areas with low scores with their teams. The executive leadership team has identified initiatives to focus on that will improve employee engagement.
The AER is an integral in the Integrated Resource Management System (IRMS)Percentage of IRMS strategic priorities supported by the AER100% of IRMS strategic priorities supported by the AERTarget met: The AER actively participates in IRMS leadership committees and continues to provide dedicated support to deliver on all IRMS strategic common priorities.