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Orphan Licence Transfer


When a well or facility licence is deemed an orphan, it will stay in the defunct licensee's name. However, the Ministry of Energy and Resources has the authority to abandon and reclaim the orphan site or transfer the licence to another eligible party.


Parties interested in acquiring well or facility licences that have been deemed orphan, under the Orphan Fund Procurement Program, should refer to the Orphan Inventory to view the list of orphan licences and the associated Orphan Abandonment and/or Reclamation Status. An orphan status of 'Required' indicates the applicable abandonment and/or reclamation work has not been completed under the Orphan Program and 'No Longer Required' indicates the licence has already been transferred out of the Orphan Program.

Before applying to transfer an orphaned licence, the interested party may wish to assess the economic potential by obtaining the production history of a well through IRIS or by contacting

NOTE: Once a licence is transferred the applicant (now licensee) is responsible for the liability associated with the future abandonment and reclamation of the licensed site. This includes environmental liability that existed prior to acquiring the licence. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to ensure they are aware of potential liabilities that may exist before applying to transfer the licences.


For a licensee to qualify to transfer orphaned well/facility licences in Saskatchewan, you must: Note: The ministry will not process an orphaned licence transfer until:
  • Any security deposit required has been received and processed;
  • Confirmation the surface lease for the proposed site(s) of interest has been obtained; and
  • Confirmation the mineral rights agreement for the proposed licence(s) zone of interest has been obtained.

How to Apply

1. Express Interest to the Ministry

Parties interested in acquiring an orphaned licence(s) should notify the ministry of their intent to ensure the licence(s) of interest are not scheduled for abandonment and/or reclamation work prior to the licence transfer being processed.

The notification should be submitted to with subject line "ATTN: Liability Regulation - Interested in acquiring orphan licence number(s)" and include the following details:

  • licensee name and BA ID (where applicable) of the party wishing to acquire the orphan licence(s) along with contact information (name, phone number and email);
  • the orphan licence number(s) interested in acquiring along with the current orphaned licensee name and BA ID; and
  • the intended use/operation of the licence(s), if acquired.

Note: The ministry will review the requests on a first-come first-served basis and reserves the right to approve/deny any licence transfer application.

A ministry representative will respond via email whether a transfer would be considered and if so, the next steps to be taken by the interested party. The ministry representative would be your contact for the remainder of the licence transfer process.

2. Submit Pre-Transfer Liability Assessment Application

A pre-transfer liability assessment application does not transfer licences. The application facilitates a way to ascertain the security deposit requirement for a potential transfer. Although the eligibility requirements (above) do not apply to a pre-transfer assessment, the applicant should review them to ensure there is no delay, if the transfer were to proceed.

To apply for a pre-transfer liability assessment, refer to the How to Apply section of Application to Transfer Well, Facility and Pipeline/Flowline Licences to complete the pre-transfer assessment application process in IRIS.

Once the application has been submitted in IRIS, be sure to communicate the IRIS application number to your ministry representative (from Step 1).

3. Submit a Licence Transfer Application

To apply for a licence transfer, refer to the How to Apply section of Application to Transfer Well, Facility and Pipeline/Flowline Licences to complete the licence transfer application process in IRIS.

Once the application has been submitted in IRIS, be sure to communicate the IRIS application number to your ministry representative (from Step 1). At this point the ministry will issue the defunct/deemed orphan licensee a notice of intent to transfer the licence(s) in 30 days.


IRIS Login

Further Information

Acquiring Crown Mineral Leases

Petroleum and natural gas dispositions in Saskatchewan are acquired through Crown Public Offerings. Companies request land to be posted in the Public Offering and bid on parcels within the Integrated Resource Information System (IRIS).

There are a number of scenarios where an oil and gas disposition may be eligible to be transferred. In these scenarios, acquisition through the Public Offering would not be required. These include:

  • if the transferor(s) and the transferee(s) have agreed to and signed (executed) the transfer; or
  • if a transfer is executed by or on behalf of a trustee, receiver, receiver-manager, liquidator, executor, administrator, property guardian or other person acting in a similar capacity and is accompanied by required documentation as set out in the Crown Minerals Act; or
  • if the transfer is a redistribution of the interest among the remaining holders.

For more information on mineral lease transfers visit Transfer a Crown Oil and Gas Disposition Application.

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