Making your Name and Address Easily Available to Industry
Almost all of us rely on energy companies to explore for and produce whatever oil and gas may exist within our subsurface mineral rights. When our mineral rights are un-leased, it is clearly important that as many energy companies as possible know who we are and where we live so that companies interested in leasing can contact us. Even after leasing, it is important for energy companies to be able to contact us - the oil and gas industry is intensely competitive and if the company that has leased our mineral rights is not performing its obligations properly, another energy company may recognize this and wish to contact us in order to enter into an option to lease agreement (a top lease) in the event the first company’s lease is no longer valid.
Energy companies operating in western Canada subscribe to technical databases which provide them with access to all publicly available information on wells, production and mineral rights. All Crown mineral rights information, including bonus prices paid for leases, geological zones leased, and lease expiry dates is publicly available and is included in these technical databases. For decades, the names and addresses of Alberta freehold owners as recorded in the Alberta Land Titles Office were also included in these databases. In 2005, the Alberta Land Titles Office ordered industry service providers to remove freehold name and address information from industry technical databases. This was ostensibly done to bring these databases into compliance with Personal Information and Protection of Privacy (PIPA) legislation. In FHOA’s view, this did nothing to protect freeholders’ privacy - anyone can obtain your name and address as recorded with Land Titles by visiting an Alberta Land Titles Office, or a registry shop or by going to the Alberta Government Services Spin II website and paying the required $10.00 fee (https://alta.registries.gov.ab.ca/spinii/logon.aspx). What it really did was increase Alberta Government Services’ revenue; add to the cost of the energy industry doing business with Alberta freeholders; and exacerbate the difference between the industry’s cost of doing business on Alberta Crown lands and Alberta freehold lands. It is noteworthy that Saskatchewan also has PIPA legislation, but in that province the names of freehold owners continue to be included in the databases of industry service providers.
When FHOA became aware of the intention of Alberta Land Titles to order the removal of all freehold owner names and addresses from industry service provider databases, the Association suggested that it would be appropriate to provide owners with the option of leaving their names and addresses in industry databases if they wished. Land Titles considered it too expensive to contact all owners of freehold mineral rights but advised that if a freeholder consented in writing, his or her name and contact information could remain in a particular industry service provider’s database. Signing a Consent Form (see “Consent Form”) allows geoLOGIC Systems Ltd., a firm which has historically supported FHOA’s goals of fair dealing, to maintain your contact information in the database it provides to the energy industry.
FHOA urges all members of the Association to sign a Consent Form.