Alberta Cabinet Given Deadline To Decide On Prosper Oilsands Project

By Elsie Ross


A Court of Queen’s Bench justice has given the Alberta cabinet 10 days to approve or reject Prosper Petroleum Limited’s proposed oilsands SAGD project northwest of Fort McMurray.

In a decision from the bench this morning, granting the company a mandatory interim injunction and an order of mandamus, Justice Barbara Romaine found that the cabinet had engaged in “unfair and abusive delay without explanation” in exercising its discretion on an Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) recommendation it approve the project. The cabinet, she said, had a public duty to make a decision and owed a duty to the applicant to make that decision.

The judge accepted Prosper’s arguments that it would suffer “irreparable harm” from a further delay and that its survival is in jeopardy. “The potential of being put out of business is irreparable harm,” she said. “Prosper notes and the Crown agrees that it would not be able to recover the losses it suffers from delay by way of judicial review.”

Prosper has satisfied all the conditions precedent giving rise to the duty of a decision required of it, she said. “It has demanded performance of the duty and has given cabinet a reasonable time to comply with that command.”

Romaine said it is clear there is no other adequate remedy available to Prosper than the mandatory injunction. “It has done as much, if not more, than any applicant could to ask cabinet to make a decision and there is no other route that Prosper can take to address the situation.”

The AER recommended approval of the 10,000 bbls/d project to cabinet in June 2018 and Prosper has been attempting since then to obtain an approval but was unable to get an explanation for the delay from the previous or current governments, court heard.

“Obviously we are pleased,” Brad Gardiner, Prosper president and chief executive officer, said outside the court. “This is just one more step but at least we have a path forward.”

Source: Daily Oil Bulletin