WHAT is 'Energy Resources Conservation Board - ERCB'

The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) was an agency of the government of Alberta responsible for the regulation and development of the province's natural resources. The ERCB comprised engineers, geologists and other technical personnel from across the province. The focus of the agency was to ensure that resources are developed in the public interest. The board dissolved in 2013, with responsibilities transferring to the Alberta Energy Regulator.

BREAKING DOWN 'Energy Resources Conservation Board - ERCB'

The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) formed in 2008, though government agencies had regulated natural resource development in Alberta since the 1930s. It was a quasi-independent organization that reported to the province's Ministry of Energy. The board reviewed applications for resource development, examining the effect of resource exploitation and managing fees charged to energy companies.

Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Albertan Oil and Gas Industry

Energy extraction has been a pillar of the Albertan economy since the the province's first major oil field was discovered at Turner Valley in 1914. In 2015, oil, gas and mining accounted for 18.3% of the economic output of Alberta, and the industry provides tens of thousands of jobs for Albertans across the province. Though the energy sector remains Alberta’s largest, its reliance on extractive industry has declined in recent years, as energy and gas accounted for 36.1% in 1985. The vast majority of Albertan oil belongs to the government in reserves referred to as crown holdings, though a small percentage are freehold assets belonging to private individuals or companies. Alberta’s reliance on oil and gas was a boon for the province for decades leading up to the financial crisis, but Alberta entered a severe recession in 2014 and 2015 as a result of the global collapse in oil prices. Growth began again in 2016, and in 2017 the province grew by 4.9%, the fastest of any Canadian province.

Regulation of the Albertan Energy Industry

The government streamlined and rationalized its regulation of the Albertan energy industry in 2013. Today the Alberta Energy Regulator handles all regulation. The quasi-governmental corporation’s mandate, as specified by the Responsible Energy Development Act, is to provide safe, efficient, orderly and environmentally responsible development of energy resources in the province. The government reorganized the Albertan regulatory apparatus following complaints by the industry that an abundance of red-tape was holding back growth.

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