With the recent 2017-18 Budget announcement, programs and services affected will be updated shortly. Posted March 22, 2017

Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan`s web site have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow text box that resembles the link below and can be found in the right hand rail of the page. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found here:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

The results of software-based translation do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos, and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Apply for a Licence to Drill a Well

How to apply to the Government of Saskatchewan's Ministry of the Economy to drill a well in the province.
Top

1. Guidance

A well licence must be obtained from the Ministry before drilling, operating, producing/injecting or exploring an upstream oil and gas well, or a potash well, in Saskatchewan. A well licence is also required to:

  • Re-enter an abandoned well;
  • Deepen an existing vertical well; or
  • Change the trajectory of a well.

Well licence applications are approved by the Ministry, however they may be subject to review by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture. All applications and supporting documentation required for all three ministries are submitted through the Integrated Resource Information System (IRIS). 

Requirements from Ministry of the Economy

Read the following Directives, Guidelines and Information Circular for regulatory requirements related to drilling and operating a well in Saskatchewan, and for information to assist you in applying for a well licence:

Also review:

Requirements from the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture

The following documents may also be required with your well licence application:

  • Checklist for Private Lands (Mandatory)
  • Oil and Gas Proposal
  • Conservation Data Center Search
  • Pre-Disturbance Site Assessment
  • Wet Land Management Plan
  • Native Vegetation Management Plan
  • Species of Concern Management Plan

For more information see the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Routine and Non-routine Well Licence Applications

Well licence applications are processed either as routine or non-routine in IRIS:

  • Routine: The applicant self-declares they meet all the necessary requirements and setbacks.  Routine licenses are issued immediately upon submission. 
  • Non Routine: Based on the declarations made by the applicant, IRIS identifies that the licence application requires additional review before a well licence can be issued.
Top

2. Eligibility

Before submitting an application for a well licence, applicants must:

  • Have an Integrated Resource Information System (IRIS) account and the appropriate permissions assigned by your Security Administrator to submit a well licence application.
  • If a corporation, be registered through Information Services Corporation (ISC) to do business in Saskatchewan.
  • Obtain the appropriate subsurface mineral rights.
  • Obtain surface lease and surface access from the surface owner of the chosen site.
    • If it's Freehold land, surface rights must be obtained from the landowner.
    • If it's Crown land, surface leases are listed in IRIS.
  • Contact the Rural Municipality to determine if a development permit is required.
  • Obtain a Heritage Resource Review through the Government of Saskatchewan's Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport (Heritage Branch).
  • Submit a $10,000 non-refundable Orphan Fund fee if the licensee has not previously held a well/facility licence pursuant to The Oil and Gas Conservation Regulations, 2012 in the province of Saskatchewan. Use the Orphan Fund Fee Payment Form to submit the 'Orphan Fund - First Time Application Fee' to the Government of Saskatchewan.
  • Re-Entry License Requirements
    • If you are applying to re-enter an abandoned well, to deepen an existing vertical well, or to change the trajectory type (from horizontal to vertical or vertical to horizontal) you must complete a well licence application in IRIS, but are also required to provide a license number for the original well.
    • If the re-entry process requires the abandonment of a completion or the abandonment of a wellbore, the applicant is required to have all non-routine abandonment authorizations in place before applying for the re-entry well.
Top

3. How To Apply

To apply for a well licence:

  1. Ensure you meet all eligibility requirements.
  2. Log in to IRIS and complete the well licence application process.

Top

4. Apply

Top

5. Further Information

For more information on licensed wells in the province, see:

Licence Obligations Associated with a Well

  • Obligations are created and available in the licence document (pdf) provided in IRIS at the time of issuance.  The conditions outlined in this licence document are established based on disclosure questions and will not be updated after the initial licence is created.
  • Additional obligations may be created within IRIS that the licensee is responsible for meeting.
  • Obligations are maintained within IRIS and can be modified from what is listed on the initial licence.
  • Licensees are encouraged to review IRIS regularly for any new or modified obligations.

Cancelling a Licence

  • A well licence can be cancelled by the licensee at any time before drilling begins.
  • Licences are automatically cancelled if no drilling information is submitted to the Ministry of the Economy through IRIS within 1 year of the licence issue date.

Confidential Period of a Well

When a well licence is submitted, a proposed confidentiality period is created for the well by IRIS.  The confidentiality period is based on the bottom-hole location of the boss bore and the completion type:

  • 30 Day Period: Assigned when the proposed bottom hole of the boss bore is located within the boundaries of a defined pool.
  • 1 Year Period: Assigned when the proposed bottom hole of the boss bore is located outside of the boundaries of a defined pool (undefined pool) or if the completion type is 'Other Minerals'.
  • 5 Year Period: Assigned when the completion type is potash related. 

For more information on the assignment of confidentiality periods, see Information Circular: Assignment of Confidential Period.

Unknown/Undetermined Mineral Ownership in a drainage unit/area related to production wells

In a situation where mineral ownership cannot be determined for a small portion of the drainage unit/area and a company still wishes to apply for a licence they may do so.

Two requirements prior to licence submission are:

  • Conduct a thorough search and document all efforts made to determine/locate mineral owners.
  • Conduct a public notice for the drainage unit/area to provide to off-set parties and any parties that may have an interest based on investigation results. 

Licence Process:

  • Assign the DA/DU as usual, include the unknown minerals lands, NOTE – on horizontal wells, only set up production allocation if CR/Other lands are involved, the setback from equity boundaries question should be answered as if the lease to the unknown mineral lands is held.
  • Answer no to Question D62. Question D62
  • Attach Unknown Mineral Ownership/Trust Information attachment to the well licence application, this should include confirmation of Public Notice being conducted, provide the PN number, the documentation of what was done to attempt to find the mineral owner(s) and a confirmation that a public trust will be established and detail the percentage allocated to the portion of the drainage area that is unknown mineral ownership.

We need your feedback to improve saskatchewan.ca. Help us improve