Waste in the Land of Plenty: An Examination of the Theoretical Implications of Waste on the Alberta Oil Sands Deposits

  • Jason Metcalf Student-at-law with Macleod Dixon LLP


Oilfield waste is a concern addressed by legislation in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. This article examines the legal meaning of waste in contrast with practical examples of oilfield techniques that unnecessary waste. The author notes that oil is renewable resource; thus, conservation measures the regulation of wasteful operations are appropriate measures from an economic perspective. While some conservation waste is inevitable, statute and case law demand that cost-effective measures be taken to avoid unnecessary waste. The policy mandate to prevent waste may be reduced to a simple point: the supply of oil is finite, and avoiding waste allows the maximum amount of profit from a limited resource.