by Morinville News Staff

Oil and gas producers can now apply to opt into the new, Modernized Royalty Framework (MRF) for wells that otherwise would not have been drilled.

Previously the government said the new framework would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017. However, the government said the changes respond to industry producers who will be able to make new investments, or decide to keep investments in Alberta, under the Modernized Royalty Framework.

“We promised from the outset of our royalty review that we would listen to industry, and there would be no surprises,” said Minister of Energy Margaret McCuaig-Boyd in a release Tuesday. “By speeding up implementation of our new royalty framework, we will get rigs running in the fields and Albertans working. This decision will give companies a choice about what framework they want to work under for the rest of the year.”

Explorers and Producers Association of Canada President Gary Leach said he was pleased the Government of Alberta government is offering an early opt-in to the MRF.

“This should be of interest to many operators whose resource projects are well suited to the design of the MRF,” Leach said. “In addition, the capital invested by companies taking advantage of this early opt-in feature will sooner put back to work unemployed Albertans living in oilfield communities across the province.”

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers President and CEO Tim McMillan sees the early opt-in move as a smoother transition to the MRF.

“This is an opportunity to start some projects sooner and allow companies to put Albertans back to work rather than delay drilling plans,” he said.

Early access to the new framework is optional and will be application-based. Companies will need to prove their activity is above and beyond that already planned. Previously started wells will stay under the old royalty system.

Additional details on the opt-in option can be found at www.energy.alberta.ca.

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