The Licensee Liability Rating Program manages the financial risk to the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Orphan Fund (SOGOF), in terms of a licensee's future costs to abandon and reclaim their wells and facilities, through the collection of security deposits.
The collected security deposit may be refunded to a licensee when eligible or forfeited to the SOGOF to carry out the abandonment and/or reclamation work required on behalf of a licensee that has been deemed an orphan in Saskatchewan.
Who pays Security Deposits?
The security deposit requirements is applicable to oil and gas producers. Therefore , each Saskatchewan upstream oil and gas licensee that has abandonment and/or reclamation liability associated with their well and facility licences, under the LLR Program, may be subject to a security deposit requirement.
Typically, any licensee that holds only non-oil and gas well/facility licenses, for purposes other than oil and gas production (such as potash mining, storage facilities, waste facilities etc.) would be exempt from the security deposit requirement under the LLR Program. If a licensee receives an invoice and believes they qualify for exemption, please contact ER.ServiceDesk@gov.sk.ca and provide supporting evidence for the ministry to review.
Please be advised that the ministry reserves the right to collect security deposit requirements where it is in the best interest of the public, regardless of whether the company would typically be considered exempt under the LLR Program.
When and how are Security Deposit Requirements Determined?
Under the LLR Program security deposit assessments are conducted by the ministry:
- After the 28th of each month as part of the monthly LLR evaluation for all licensees; or
- Prior to any well and/or facility licence transfer.
For more details on the security deposit assessment process and calculations refer to Directive PNG025 Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) Program.
Licensees can refer to their Securities Work sheet or Licensee Liability Inventory Reports, available in IRIS, for further details specific to their organization to help anticipate when a security deposit may be required.
How are Security Deposit Invoices Issued?
Licensee will receive notification through IRIS when a security deposit invoice has been issued. Payment must be provided within 30 days of invoice issuance.
Ministry Accepted Payment Methods for Security Deposits
NOTE: The ministry will no longer issue invoices by mail. Therefore, all licensees are encouraged to sign up for IRIS, if you have not already done so, to receive notification when an invoice is issued and available to view.
Security deposit payments must be made payable to the Minister of Finance and reference the invoice number to expedite processing.
Where another party is providing payment on behalf of the invoiced licensee, please ensure this is communicated at the time of submission to ensure payment is applied to the applicable licensee's account.
The invoiced amount can be paid by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), direct deposit, cheque, or Irrevocable Letter of Credit (LOC). Where an LOC is the method chosen, the LOC must adhere to the following criteria for acceptance by the ministry:
- Obtained from a recognized Canadian Bank, Credit Union, or Trust Company guaranteeing payment for the beneficiary upon presentation to the issue.
- Obtained by the licensee issued the security deposit invoice and identified as the Applicant on the LOC
- Only renewable LOCs that adhere to the ministry standardized LOC Form or Amended LOC Form will be accepted; therefore, the licensee must ensure the financial institution is provided the form and adheres to the requirements before submission to the ministry.
Inquiries related to the payment methods should be directed to the ER Service Desk at 1-855-219-9373 or ER.ServiceDesk@gov.sk.ca.
NOTE: A licensee may change their security deposit payment method at any time. However, the existing form of security deposit will be held until a replacement has been received and accepted/processed by the ministry.
Failure to Submit the Security Deposit Required for a Licence Transfer
A licence transfer application will be denied, by the ministry, where a licensee fails to provide the required security deposit for a pending licence transfer within 30 days.
Failure to Submit a Security Deposit Required for a Monthly Assessment
Where a licensee fails to provide security deposit payment related to a monthly assessment, within the required 30 days, the amount owing is a debt to the Minister and may be collected in any manner the Minister considers appropriate, including in the manner provided in section 53.2 of The Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
Prior to obtaining a court issued judgment against the licensee to collect the outstanding debt, the ministry may issue a variety of Minister's Orders requiring the licensee to suspend operation, abandon wells, decommission facilities, and reclaim well and facility sites by a given date in lieu of the security deposit payment. Further details on the possible enforcement actions are provided in Directive PNG025 Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) Program.
Eligibility for a Security Deposit Refund
When is a Licensee Eligible for a Security Deposit Refund?
Licensees may be eligible for a full or partial refund of their security deposit, being held by the ministry under the LLR Program, provided that for six consecutive months, the licensee is both in an over-payment situation, and has improved or maintained their LLR each month during those six consecutive months. Refer to Directive PNG025 Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) Program for more information on eligibility requirements.
The ministry reserves the right to consider any and all relevant factors when making a decision regarding a security deposit, such as:
- the licensee's current situation under the LLR Program;
- the financial risk to the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Orphan Fund;
- whether it is in the best interest of the public;
- knowledge of any issues, at the licensee's sites in terms of contamination or outstanding field office inspections items;
- knowledge of the licensee's outstanding debt owed to the ministry, landowner, mineral lease holders, Rural Municipality, etc.; and
- any other factors the ministry considers relevant.
How does a licensee know if they are in an over-payment situation and have improved their LLR for six consecutive months?
Licensees can review their monthly Licensee Liability Inventory Reports and Securities Worksheets, available through IRIS, to help determine when they may be eligible to apply for a refund. For step-by-step instruction on how to view the reports in IRIS see Liability Management at the User Learning Centre.
How to Apply for a Security Deposit Refund
To apply for a security deposit refund the licensee must:
NOTE: The Security Deposit Refund Request application and all content within are confidential to the given licensee submitting the application and to the ministry.
- Ensure the ministry holds a security deposit on account for the given licensee making the request by reviewing the licensee's Securities Worksheet available in IRIS.
- Ensure the eligibility criteria are met as prescribed in Directive PNG025 Licensee Liability Rating (LLR) Program.
- Complete the Security Deposit Refund Request Form. The form must have all irrelevant content and highlighting removed, be printed on company letter head and signed by the licensee's president or signing officer.
- Log in to IRIS (as the licensee with the over-payment on account) and complete the application process. For step-by-step details of how to complete the refund request application process in IRIS see Liability Management at the User Learning Centre.
The ministry will evaluate the application and email the applicable parties with an explanation of the refund decision and any follow-up actions that may be required by the licensee, ministry or financial institution. This email will also be added to the ministry decision section of the IRIS application.
The applicant will receive notification through IRIS once the ministry has updated the application decision in IRIS.
Log in to IRIS
Where a refund is granted, any further inquiries regarding the timing of the refund should be directed to the following:
- For cash refunds, contact the ER Service Desk at 1-855-219-9373 or ER.ServiceDesk@gov.sk.ca.
- For LOC refunds, contact the financial institution that issued the LOC.