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Alberta’s Oilfield Brine Mineral Rights: How Regulatory Changes Are Enabling the Lithium Co-Production Scenario

Regulatory support is developing for critical mineral extraction from oilfield brines

In 2023, the Government of Alberta released essential regulatory instruments enabling the extraction of critical minerals from deep geologic brine fluids. This includes consideration for Lithium contained within produced waters associated with oil and gas operations.

As stated within the Federal and Provincial critical minerals strategies, establishing a domestic critical minerals resource supply is essential to support the development of domestic and global value chains and empower a clean and responsible global energy transition. While various tax and grant incentives have supported emerging resource exploration and technology testing, providing further clarity on the mineral tenure of deep aquifer brines serves to mitigate an added layer of uncertainty for prospective developers.

With suitable regulatory support forming in Alberta, there is a strong value-add use case for right-sized Canadian oil and gas producers to maximize from waste production, de-intensify emissions, and contribute to the circular economy.

Scrutiny from ESG investors is only increasing as regulations and frameworks develop, and co-production can both help alleviate the environmental impact of Lithium and Petroleum products and reduce North American reliance on foreign critical minerals.

First published in the Daily Oil Bulletin, December 11th 2023.

Adam Leece, M.Sc., P.Eng.
Manager, ESG & Decarbonization
Integrated Sustainability

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