Oil and Gas Activities Act [SBC 2008] Chapter 36 (BC Oil and Gas Act)

Jurisdiction(s)
Instrument Date
2008
Effective Date
Instrument Type
Primary
Relevant Regulatory Authority
Energy Resources Division within the Ministry of Energy and Mines
Purpose and Context
Section 4 of the BC Oil and Gas Act states that the purpose of the Oil and Gas Commission (which purpose is representative of the broader purpose of the BC Oil and Gas Act) is: (a) to regulate oil and gas activities in British Columbia in a manner that (i)  provides for the sound development of the oil and gas sector, by fostering a healthy environment, a sound economy and social well-being, (ii)  conserves petroleum and natural gas resources, (iii)  ensures safe and efficient practices, and (iv)  assists owners of petroleum and natural gas resources to participate equitably in the production of shared pools of petroleum and natural gas; (b) to provide for effective and efficient processes for the review of applications for permits and to ensure that applications that are approved are in the public interest having regard to environmental, economic and social effects; (c) to encourage the participation of First Nations and aboriginal peoples in processes affecting them; (d) to participate in planning processes; (e) to undertake programs of education and communication in order to advance safe and efficient practices and the other purposes of the commission.
Relevant links
Instrument Access Date
20 August 2012
I. Regulatory scope and definitions
Definitions

Article/Section No.

Section 1

Instrument Text

Part 1 — Definitions

Definitions

1

(1) Words and expressions used but not defined in this Act or in the regulations for the purposes of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, have the same meanings as in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, other than Part 17 of that Act.

(2) In this Act:

"appeal tribunal" means the Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal established under section 19;

"authorization" means, except in sections 34, 39 (1) and 104 and Part 10, an authorization under a specified enactment to carry out a related activity, and includes the conditions, if any, imposed on the authorization under this Act or the specified enactment;

"board" means the board of the commission continued under section 2;

"certificate of restoration" means a certificate issued by the commission under section 41;

"commission" means the Oil and Gas Commission continued under section 2;

"commissioner" means the commissioner appointed under section 2 (3);

"environmental measure" means an action a person must take or refrain from taking for the protection or effective management of the environment;

"facility" means a system of vessels, piping, valves, tanks and other equipment that is used to gather, process, measure, store or dispose of petroleum, natural gas, water or a substance referred to in paragraph (d) or (e) of the definition of "pipeline";

"flow line" means a pipeline that connects a well head with a scrubbing, processing or storage facility and that precedes the transfer of the conveyed substance to or from a transmission, distribution or transportation line;

"former permit holder" includes a person who was a director of a corporation that

(a) held a permit with respect to which there has been a cancellation, declaration or expiry referred to in section 40, and

(b) no longer exists or has amalgamated with another corporation;

"government's environmental objectives" means the prescribed objectives of the government respecting the protection and effective management of the environment;

"highway" has the same meaning as in the Transportation Act;

"land owner" means

(a) a person registered in the land title office as the registered owner of the land surface or as its purchaser under an agreement for sale, and

(b) a person to whom a disposition of Crown land has been issued under the Land Act,

but does not include the government or a person referred to in paragraph (b) of the definition of "unoccupied Crown land" in section 1 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act;

"official", except in sections 6 and 8, means a person designated as an official under section 7 (4);

"oil and gas activity" means

(a) geophysical exploration,

(b) the exploration for and development of petroleum, natural gas or both,

(c) the production, gathering, processing, storage or disposal of petroleum, natural gas or both,

(d) the operation or use of a storage reservoir,

(e) the construction or operation of a pipeline,

(f) the construction or maintenance of a prescribed road, and

(g) the activities prescribed by regulation;

"permit" means a permit issued under section 25 and includes any conditions imposed on a permit;

"permit holder" means

(a) a person who holds a permit, and

(b) a person, if any, who is the holder of a location with respect to that permit;

"pipeline" means, except in section 9, piping through which any of the following is conveyed:

(a) petroleum or natural gas;

(b) water produced in relation to the production of petroleum or natural gas or conveyed to or from a facility for disposal into a pool or storage reservoir;

(c) solids;

(d) substances prescribed under section 133 (2) (v) of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act,

(e) other prescribed substances,

and includes installations and facilities associated with the piping, but does not include

(f) piping used to transmit natural gas at less than 700 kPa to consumers by a gas utility as defined in the Gas Utility Act,

(g) a well head, or

(h) anything else that is prescribed;

"pipeline permit" means a permit that includes a permission to construct, maintain or operate a pipeline;

"pipeline permit holder" means a permit holder of a pipeline permit;

"related activity" means an activity

(a) that, under a specified enactment, must not be carried out except as authorized under the specified enactment or that must be carried out in accordance with the specified enactment, and

(b) the carrying out of which is required for the carrying out of an oil and gas activity;

"specified enactment" means any of the following Acts:

(a) Environmental Management Act;

(b) Forest Act;

(c) Heritage Conservation Act;

(d) Land Act;

(e) Water Act;

"specified provision" means the following provisions:

(a) any of the following provisions of the Environmental Management Act:

(i)  section 9 [hazardous waste storage and disposal];

(ii)  section 14 [permits];

(iii)  section 15 [approvals];

(b) section 47.4 [licence to cut for persons occupying land or for oil and gas purposes] of the Forest Act, but only in relation to a master licence to cut, and section 117 [road use permits for industrial use] of that Act;

(c) section 12 [permit authorizing certain actions] of the Heritage Conservation Act;

(d) any of the following provisions of the Land Act:

(i)  section 11, but only in relation to a lease or grant described in section 11 (2) (b) to (d) [disposing of Crown land];

(ii)  section 14 [temporary occupation of Crown land];

(iii)  section 38 [lease of Crown land], but not to the extent that it relates to the granting of an option to purchase land;

(iv)  section 39 [licence of occupation];

(v)  section 40 [right of way and easement];

(vi)  section 96 (1) [occupational rental];

(e) any of the following provisions of the Water Act, but only in relation to an approval as defined in section 1 of the Water Act:

(i)  section 8 [short term use of water];

(ii)  section 9 (1) (a) [changes in and about a stream];

(iii)  section 26 [permits over Crown land];

(f) a prescribed regulation under a specified enactment;

"spillage" means petroleum, natural gas, oil, solids or other substances escaping, leaking or spilling from

(a) a pipeline, well, shot hole, flow line, or facility, or

(b) any source apparently associated with any of those substances.

Classification of CO2

Summary

The definition of “oil and gas activity” given in section 1 of the BC Oil and Gas Act includes, relevantly for CO2 sequestration activities, the operation or use of a storage reservoir.  

Article/Section No.

Section 1

Instrument Text

Part 1 — Definitions

Definitions

1

(1) Words and expressions used but not defined in this Act or in the regulations for the purposes of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, have the same meanings as in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, other than Part 17 of that Act.

(2) In this Act:

[…]

"oil and gas activity" means

(a) geophysical exploration,

(b) the exploration for and development of petroleum, natural gas or both,

(c) the production, gathering, processing, storage or disposal of petroleum, natural gas or both,

(d) the operation or use of a storage reservoir,

(e) the construction or operation of a pipeline,

(f) the construction or maintenance of a prescribed road, and

(g) the activities prescribed by regulation;

[…]

Geographical coverage, exclusions and prohibitions

Summary

Section 97 of the BC Oil and Gas Act provides that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prohibiting the carrying out of any oil and gas activity or related activity (each as defined in section 1) within a specified distance of any boundary, roadway, road allowance, right of way, building or any specified works.

In addition, if the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission is satisfied that there is a danger to the public, then under section 111(1)(a) the Board (as defined in section 1) can:

  1. make regulations increasing the distance already specified in regulations made under section 97; or
  2. if no prohibition has yet been prescribed under section 97, prescribe a prohibition for the relevant area in accordance with that section.   

Article/Section No.

Section 97
Section 111(1)(a)

Instrument Text

Part 9 — Regulations

Division 1 — Regulations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council

Prohibitions

97

The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) prohibiting the carrying out of any oil and gas activity or related activity at any point within a specified distance of any boundary, roadway, road allowance, right of way, building of any prescribed type or any specified works;

(b) despite anything in the Local Government Act and the Community Charter, prohibiting the construction of a building or structure within a specified distance of a well, pipeline or facility, if the Lieutenant Governor in Council is satisfied that the prohibition is necessary to protect the public.

[…]

Division 2 — Regulations of the Board

Oil and gas activities

111(1)(a)

(a) if the commission is satisfied that there is a danger to the public, increasing a specified distance prescribed under section 97 (a), and, if a prohibition has not been prescribed under that section with respect to any area of the province, prescribing a prohibition for that area of the type referred to in that section;

II. The scope and management of rights
Public participation

Summary

<p>The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission is required under section 77 of the BC Oil and Gas Act to maintain a registry containing all prescribed information about oil and gas activities (which term is defined in section 1 to include operation or use of a storage reservoir). </p>

Article/Section No.

Section 77

Instrument Text

Part 7 - General

Registry

77

The commission must maintain a registry containing the prescribed information about oil and gas activities.

III. Permitting storage site exploration, project development and CO2 injection
Permitting exploration activities

Summary

Under section 111(1)(f), the Board (as defined in section 1) can make regulations regarding the exploration for, as well as the development, use and abandonment of, storage reservoirs.  

Article/Section No.

111(1)(f)

Instrument Text

Division 2 — Regulations of the Board

Oil and gas activities

111(1) The board may make regulations respecting the carrying out of an oil and gas activity, including, without limiting this, regulations as follows:

[…]

(f) respecting the exploration for and development, use and abandonment of storage reservoirs;

[…]

Environmental protection and impact assessment

Summary

Section 25 of the BC Oil and Gas Act requires the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission to consider the government’s environmental objectives (as defined in section 1) before issuing permits for oil and gas activities, if any such objectives have been prescribed for this purpose.

Under sections 103 and 104, the Lieutenant Governor in Council can make regulations:

  1. respecting actions that permit holders carrying out oil and gas activities must or must not take in order to protect or effectively manage the environment; or
  2. authorising certain ministerial actions under the Wildlife Act, Water Act, Land Act and Forest Range and Practices Act.

Section 36 requires permit holders and persons carrying out oil and gas activities to comply with environmental measures established under a regulation made under section 104. 

Where a site profile for a site is required under the Environmental Management Act, the Commission may only issue a certificate of restoration for the site once the requirements of section 43(2) have been met.

Under section 49, an official may issue a written order to a person carrying out an oil and gas activity or a related activity (each as defined in section 1), if the official forms the opinion that the order is necessary to mitigate a risk to public safety, protect the environment or promote the conservation of petroleum and natural gas resources.

An order under section 49 may require, among other things, that the person repair damage to the environment.

Article/Section No.

Section 1
Section 25
Section 36
Section 43
Section 49
Section 103
Section 104
Section 105

Associated legislation:
Wildlife Act
Water Act
Land Act
Forest Range and Practices Act
Environmental Management Act

Instrument Text

Part 1 — Definitions

Definitions

1

(1) Words and expressions used but not defined in this Act or in the regulations for the purposes of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, have the same meanings as in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, other than Part 17 of that Act.

(2) In this Act:

[…]

"government's environmental objectives" means the prescribed objectives of the government respecting the protection and effective management of the environment;

[…]

Part 3 - Oil and Gas Activities

Division 1 - Permits

Permits and authorizations issued by commission

25

(1) Subject to subsection (1.1), on application by a person under section 24 and after considering

(a) written submissions made under section 22 (5), if any, and

(b) the government's environmental objectives, if any have been prescribed for the purposes of this section,

the commission may issue a permit to the person if the person meets the requirements prescribed for the purposes of this section.

(1.1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council, by regulation, may issue a direction to the commission with respect to the exercise of the commission's power under subsection (1), and the commission must comply with the direction despite any other provision of this Act, the regulations or an order made under this Act.

(2) In issuing a permit under subsection (1), the commission

(a) must specify the oil and gas activities the person is permitted to carry out, and

(b) may impose any conditions on the permit that the commission considers necessary.

(3) A permit and any authorizations granted to the applicant for the permit may be issued as a single document.

(4) If the commission issues a permit under subsection (1), the commission must provide notice, in accordance with subsection (5), to the land owner of the land on which an oil and gas activity is permitted to be carried out under the permit.

(5) A notice under subsection (4) must

(a) advise the land owner of the issuance of the permit and of the location of the proposed site of an oil and gas activity on the land owner's land, and

(b) state that the land owner may appeal under section 72 the decision to issue the permit, and include an address to which an appeal may be sent.

(6) A permit holder must not begin an oil and gas activity on a land owner's land before the expiry of 15 days from the day the permit was issued, unless the land owner consents in writing to the activity beginning before the expiry of that period.

[…]

Division 2 - Rights and Obligations

Environmental protection and management

36

(1) A permit holder and a person carrying out an oil and gas activity must comply with environmental measures established under the authority of a regulation made under section 104.

(2) Subject to regulations made under section 98, the commission, by order, may exempt, on any conditions the commission considers necessary, a permit holder or a person carrying out an oil and gas activity from a requirement imposed by regulation under section 103.

[…] 

Environmental Management Act requirements must be met

43  (1) This section applies to an application for a certificate of restoration under section 41.

(2) The commission may not approve an application referred to in subsection (1) with respect to a site where a site profile is required under section 40 of the Environmental Management Act unless at least one of the following is satisfied:

(a) the commission has received a site profile required under section 40 of the Environmental Management Act with respect to the site and the commission is not required to forward a copy of the site profile to a director under section 40 (4) (b) of that Act;

(b) the commission has received a site profile under section 40 of the Environmental Management Act with respect to the site, has forwarded a copy of the site profile to a director under section 40 (4) (b) of that Act and has received notice from the director that a site investigation under section 41 of that Act will not be required by the director;

(c) the commission has received a final determination under section 44 of the Environmental Management Act that the site is not a contaminated site;

(d) the commission has received notice from a director under the Environmental Management Act that the commission may approve an application under this section because, in the opinion of the director, the site would not present a significant threat or risk if the application were approved;

(e) the commission has received notice from a director under the Environmental Management Act that the director has received and accepted a notice of independent remediation with respect to the site;

(f) the commission has received notice from a director under the Environmental Management Act that the director has entered into a voluntary remediation agreement with respect to the site;

(g) the commission has received a valid and subsisting approval in principle or certificate of compliance under section 53 of the Environmental Management Act with respect to the site.

[…]

Part 5 - Compliance and Enforcement

Division 2 - Orders

Order issued by official

49

(1) An official may, in writing, issue to a person carrying out an oil and gas activity or a related activity an order under this section with respect to those activities or any of the person's obligations under the Act or the regulations or the person's permit or authorization, if any, if, in the opinion of the official,

(a) the person fails to comply with the Act, the regulations, a previous order made under the Act, or the person's permit or authorization, or

(b) the order is necessary

(i)  to mitigate a risk to public safety,

(ii)  to protect the environment, or

(iii)  to promote the conservation of petroleum and natural gas resources.

(2) An official may issue an order to a person under subsection (1) with respect to an act or omission by the person whether or not the commission has made a finding under section 62 with respect to that act or omission.

(3) An order under subsection (1) must

(a) name the person to whom the order is addressed,

(b) specify the action to be taken, stopped or modified,

(c) state the date by which the person must comply with the order,

(d) state the reasons for the order,

(e) state that the person may request a review of the order under section 70 or appeal the decision under section 72, and include an address to which a request for a review or an appeal may be sent,

(f) be dated the day the order is made, and

(g) be served on the person to whom it is addressed.

(h) [Repealed 2010-9-31.]

(3.1) If an order under subsection (1) is addressed to an employee, agent or contractor of a permit holder, the official who served the order must serve a copy of the order on the permit holder.

(4) Without limiting subsection (3) (b), an order under subsection (1) may specify any of the following requirements:

(a) that a person must apply to obtain or amend a permit or an authorization in accordance with the Act and the regulations;

(b) that a person remedy a failure referred to in subsection (1) (a);

(c) that a person repair damage to the environment;

(d) that a person suspend or resume an oil and gas activity or any aspect of an oil and gas activity;

(e) that a person use a specified method to carry out an oil and gas activity;

(f) that a person conduct tests, take samples, conduct analyses and submit records and information to the commission;

(g) that a person control or prevent the escape of petroleum, natural gas, water, waste or other substances from a well, pipeline or facility;

(h) that a person repressure, recycle or carry out pressure maintenance of any pool or portion of it, or use any other enhanced recovery technique, including the introduction or injection of natural gas, water or other substances into any pool or part of it;

(i) with respect to water produced in relation to the production of petroleum or natural gas, that a person dispose of the water into an underground formation or as otherwise specified;

(j) that a person deepen a well beyond the formation from which production is being taken or has been taken;

(k) that a person recomplete a well;

(l) that a person restrict or cease production of petroleum, natural gas or water;

(m) that natural gas be gathered, and processed if necessary, and that the natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons extracted be marketed or injected into an underground reservoir for storage or for any other purpose;

(n) that a pipeline permit holder alter or divert its pipeline;

(o) that a permit holder prepare and implement, in a form and manner satisfactory to the official, a program of measures to contain and eliminate spillage;

(p) that a permit holder arrange for an independent audit of the permit holder's operations and activities and have the auditor's report submitted to the official.

(5) Despite subsection (3), if the official referred to in subsection (1) is of the opinion that a person's actions or omissions are of such nature that they are causing, or may imminently cause, serious damage to the environment or that they are a risk to public safety, the order under subsection (1) may be issued orally.

(6) If, under subsection (5), an official issues an order orally, an official, within 48 hours, must confirm the order in writing as required under subsection (3) or the order ceases to be effective.

(7) An official may amend an order issued under subsection (1), and subsection (3) applies to the amendment.

(8) If satisfied that the circumstances that gave rise to an order under subsection (1) are no longer present or have been affected by other circumstances, an official may terminate the order by providing the person to whom the order was addressed with written notice of the termination.

(9) An order under subsection (1) may specify a requirement that is different from a requirement in a provision of a regulation under this Act, if the regulation expressly states that the provision is subject to this section.

(10) Subject to subsection (9), if a regulation is made concerning a matter with respect to which an order has been made under this section, the order, if it has not been terminated under subsection (8), is no longer valid to the extent of any inconsistency between the order and the regulation.

[…]

Part 9 - Regulations

Division 1 - Regulations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council

Environmental protection and management

103

(1) For the purposes of environmental protection and management, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting actions that a permit holder and a person carrying out an oil and gas activity must take or refrain from taking to protect or effectively manage the environment.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting actions that a permit holder and a person carrying out an oil and gas activity must take or refrain from taking with respect to any of the following:

(a) a wildlife habitat feature, as identified under section 104 (1) (c) (i);

(b) wildlife, including fish, and wildlife habitat;

(c) temperature sensitive streams, as identified under section 104 (1) (c) (ii);

(d) streams, wetlands and lakes;

(e) riparian areas and lakeshores;

(f) lakeshore management zones;

(g) water quality;

(h) watersheds;

(i) aquifers and ground water recharge areas;

(j) old-growth management areas, as identified under section 104 (3) (a);

(k) wildlife trees;

(l) commercial timber;

(m) soils, including soil stability, disturbance and productivity;

(n) surface drainage, ground percolation and erosion control;

(o) biodiversity;

(p) invasive plants, as identified under section 104 (3) (c);

(q) resource features;

(r) range;

(s) forest resources;

(t) cultural heritage resources;

(u) scenic areas, as established under section 104 (3) (d);

(v) ungulate winter ranges, as established under section 104 (1) (a) (i);

(w) wildlife habitat areas, as established under section 104 (1) (a) (ii);

(x) fisheries sensitive watersheds, as established under section 104 (1) (a) (iv).

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) for the purposes of subsection (2), classifying

(i)  streams, wetlands and lakes,

(ii)  riparian areas, and

(iii)  wildlife habitat features, scenic features and resource features,

(b) for the purposes of subsection (2) and of section 104 (1) (a) (iv) and (2) (a), classifying watersheds,

(c) for the purposes of subsection (2) and of section 104 (2) (b) (i), classifying aquifers, and

(d) for the purposes of subsection (2) and of section 104 (4), classifying lakeshore management zones.

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing objectives for the purposes of the definition of "government's environmental objectives" in section 1.

Authorizations respecting environmental protection and management

104

(1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations authorizing the minister responsible for administering the Wildlife Act

(a) to establish, for the purposes of paragraph (b), one or more of the following:

(i)  an area as an ungulate winter range;

(ii)  an area as a wildlife habitat area;

(iii)  categories of wildlife for the purposes of subparagraphs (i) to (ii);

(iv)  a fisheries sensitive watershed, in accordance with regulations, if any, respecting the classification of watersheds made under section 103 (3) (b),

(b) to establish, for the purposes of section 36 (1), an environmental measure in relation to paragraph (a) (i), (ii) or (iv) of this subsection, and

(c) to identify one or both of the following:

(i)  for the purposes of section 103 (2) (a), a wildlife habitat feature, in accordance with regulations, if any, respecting the classification of wildlife habitat features made under section 103 (3) (a) (iii);

(ii)  for the purposes of section 103 (2) (c), a temperature sensitive stream.

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations authorizing the minister responsible for administering the Water Act

(a) to establish, for the purposes of paragraph (c), a designated watershed or portion of a watershed, in accordance with regulations, if any, respecting the classification of watersheds made under section 103 (3) (b),

(b) to identify, for the purposes of paragraph (c), either or both of the following:

(i)  an aquifer, in accordance with regulations, if any, respecting the classification of aquifers made under section 103 (3) (c);

(ii)  a groundwater recharge area, and

(c) to establish, for the purposes of section 36 (1), an environmental measure in relation to paragraphs (a) and (b).

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations authorizing the minister responsible for administering the Land Act

(a) to establish, for the purposes of section 103 (2) (j) and paragraph (b) of this subsection, an old-growth management area,

(b) to establish, for the purposes of section 36 (1), an environmental measure in relation to paragraph (a) of this subsection,

(c) to identify invasive plants for the purposes of section 103 (2) (p) and

(d) to establish, for the purposes of section 103 (2) (u), scenic areas.

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations authorizing the minister responsible for administering the Forest and Range Practices Act to establish, for the purposes of section 103 (2) (f) and (3) (d), lakeshore management zones.

(5) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) prescribing the circumstances in which and the extent to which a discretion conferred in an authorization referred to in subsections (1) to (4) or paragraph (b) of this subsection may be exercised,

(b) authorizing a minister referred to in subsections (1) to (4) to grant an exemption from an environmental measure established by that minister and to impose one or more conditions with respect to the exemption;

(c) authorizing a minister referred to in subsections (1) to (4) to delegate any power conferred on the minister by a regulation made under this section with or without directions on how the delegated power is to be exercised,

(d) prescribing the consultations or notifications, or both, that a minister referred to in subsections (1) to (4), or a person authorized by the minister, must carry out before exercising a power conferred on the minister by a regulation made under this section;

(e) prescribing a date on which, or a period of time at the expiry of which, an order made by a minister referred to in subsection (1) to (4) in the exercise of a power conferred on the minister by a regulation made under this section comes into force.

Relation between regulations, environmental measures and other provisions

105

(1) In making a regulation under section 103, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may provide an exception to the application of the regulation, including an exception relating to the application of an environmental measure.

(2) If there is an inconsistency between

(a) either

(i)  a requirement prescribed under section 103, or

(ii)  an environmental measure established under section 104, and

(b) a provision of an Act administered by the minister responsible for the administration of the Wildlife Act or the Water Act or a regulation made under any of those Acts

the provision referred to in paragraph (b) prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

Permitting CO2 injection and storage

Summary

Section 21 of the BC Oil and Gas Act provides that a person must not carry out an oil and gas activity (which term is defined in section 1 to include operation or use of a storage reservoir) unless the person:

  1. holds a permit giving permission to carry out the activity, or is ordered to carry out the activity under section 49; and
  2. carries out the activity in compliance with the Act, the relevant permit (if any) and any order issued to the person.

The processes and requirements for applying for a permit for an oil and gas activity are set out in section 24. However, section 22 imposes certain notification and consultation requirements (e.g. notifying the owner of the land on which the activity is to be carried out) that must be met before an application can be submitted.

Under section 24(4), an application to drill or operate a well for CO2 storage purposes cannot be submitted unless the applicant holds a storage lease issued under section 130 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act.

The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission may issue a permit if the requirements under section 25 are satisfied, which include a requirement for the Commission to consider any prescribed governmental environmental objectives (as defined in section 1).

If the permit is issued, the Commission is required under section 25(5) to notify the relevant landowner of the issuance, the location of the proposed activity, and the landowner’s appeal rights (under section 72). Permit holders must not begin or carry out oil and gas activities unless the permit holder owns or acquires the land, or has acquired the necessary interests in the land, in accordance with applicable laws (see section 34(2)).

Section 26 sets out a number of grounds on which the Commission may refuse or amend a permit, or suspend or cancel a permit or a permission specified therein. These include, among others:

  1. contravention of the Act, the regulations, a permit, an authorisation or an order issued under the Act; and
  2. beginning a permitted oil and gas activity but failing to carry out or continue the activity.

The Commission must, however, give the permit holder an opportunity to be heard before taking such action (see section 26(6)).

Under section 30, the Commission may require existing permit holders and applicants for permits to provide security, in order to ensure performance of an obligation under the Act, a permit or an authorisation.

Permits or specific permissions under permits may:

  1. be declared to be spent, under section 27;
  2. expire, under section 32 (subject to any extension of the permit under section 32(2)); or
  3. be surrendered under section 33.

Under section 111(1)(f), the Board (as defined in section 1) can make regulations regarding the exploration for and development, use and abandonment of storage reservoirs.  

Article/Section No.

Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32
Section 33
Section 34
Section 111(1)(f)

Associated legislation:
Petroleum and Natural Gas Act

Instrument Text

Part 3 - Oil and Gas Activities

Division 1 - Permits

Permit required

21

Subject to section 23, a person must not carry out an oil and gas activity unless

 

(a) either

 

(i)  the person holds a permit that gives the person permission to carry out that oil and gas activity, or

 

(ii)  the person is required to carry out that oil and gas activity by an order issued under section 49, and

 

(b) the person carries out the oil and gas activity in compliance with

 

(i)  this Act and the regulations,

 

(ii)  a permit issued to the person, if any, and

 

(iii)  an order issued to the person, if any.

 

Consultation and notification

22

(1) In subsection (3), "prescribed applicant" means a person who intends to submit an application under section 24 and who is in a prescribed class of persons.

 

(2) Before submitting an application under section 24, a person must notify the land owner of the land on which the person intends to carry out an oil and gas activity of the person's intention to submit the application, and the notice must advise the land owner that he or she may make a submission to the commission under subsection (5) of this section with respect to the application or proposed application.

 

(3) Subject to subsection (4), before submitting an application under section 24, a prescribed applicant must carry out the prescribed consultations or provide the prescribed notices, or both, as applicable, with respect to the oil and gas activities and related activities, if any, that will be the subject of the prescribed applicant's application.

 

(4) The commission, on written request, may exempt a person from one or more of the applicable consultation or notification requirements under subsection (3) and, on making an exemption, substitute other consultation or notification requirements than those prescribed for the purposes of subsection (3).

 

(5) A person, other than the applicant, may make a written submission to the commission with respect to an application or a proposed application under section 24.

 

(6) If a person makes a submission under subsection (5), the commission must send a copy of the submission to the applicant or to the person intending to apply for a permit, as the case may be.

 

Preliminary plan

23

(1) Before submitting an application under section 24 for a pipeline permit, a person may submit to the commission a preliminary plan of the proposed route of the pipeline.

 

(2) Subject to subsection (3), a person may enter on land as necessary for making surveys, examinations or other arrangements for the purpose of fixing the site of the pipeline referred to in subsection (1), if the person

 

(a) has submitted a preliminary plan under subsection (1), and

 

(b) has either

 

(i)  provided the prescribed security to the commission to compensate the land owner or the Crown for any damage or disturbance that may be caused by the entry on the land by the person, or

 

(ii)  entered into an agreement with the land owner regarding entry on the land.

 

(3) A person who has not entered into an agreement referred to in subsection (2) (b) (ii) must notify, in accordance with the regulations, the owner of the land of the person's intention to enter on that land.

 

(4) The right of entry under subsection (2) does not extend to any of the following:

 

(a) land occupied by a building;

 

(b) the curtilage of a dwelling house;

 

(c) protected heritage property, unless the person is authorized by the local government or the minister responsible for the protection of the protected heritage property.

 

(5) In subsection (4) (c), "protected heritage property" means land or an object that is

 

(a) protected under section 13 of the Heritage Conservation Act,

 

(b) designated under section 967 of the Local Government Act or section 593 of the Vancouver Charter, or

 

(c) included under section 970.1 (3) (b) of the Local Government Act in a schedule to an official community plan.

 

Application for permit and authorization

24

(1) Subject to subsection (4), a person may apply to the commission for a permit by submitting, in the form and manner the commission requires,

 

(a) a description of the proposed site of the oil and gas activity,

 

(b) the information, plans, application form and records required by the commission,

 

(c) a written report, satisfactory to the commission, regarding the results of the consultations carried out or notification provided under section 22, if any,

 

(d) the prescribed information,

 

(e) the prescribed records, and

 

(f) the security required under section 30.

 

(2) An application for a permit under subsection (1) may be consolidated with an application for an authorization.

 

(3) Despite anything in a specified enactment, the commission may not grant an authorization to a person for a related activity unless the person holds, or has applied for, a permit for the oil and gas activity related to that related activity.

 

(4) A person may not submit an application for a permit to drill or operate a well, unless

 

(a) the person is the owner of the petroleum and natural gas rights or is the holder of the location in respect of the well,

 

(b) the person has an agreement with the owner or the holder of the location referred to in paragraph (a) authorizing the drilling or operation, as applicable,

 

(c) the person is the holder of a storage reservoir lease issued under section 130 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, or

 

(d) the minister has approved the submission under subsection (5).

 

(5) For the purposes of subsection (4) (d), the minister may

 

(a) approve the submission by a person of an application for a permit to drill a well if the well is to be drilled for exploratory or research purposes only, and

 

(b) in approving a submission under paragraph (a), declare that, if a permit is issued to the person on the basis of the submission, the person is not required to be an owner or holder referred to in subsection (4) or have the agreement referred to in that subsection in order to drill or operate the well for the purposes referred to in paragraph (a).

 

Permits and authorizations issued by commission

25

(1) Subject to subsection (1.1), on application by a person under section 24 and after considering

 

(a) written submissions made under section 22 (5), if any, and

 

(b) the government's environmental objectives, if any have been prescribed for the purposes of this section,

 

the commission may issue a permit to the person if the person meets the requirements prescribed for the purposes of this section.

 

(1.1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council, by regulation, may issue a direction to the commission with respect to the exercise of the commission's power under subsection (1), and the commission must comply with the direction despite any other provision of this Act, the regulations or an order made under this Act.

 

(2) In issuing a permit under subsection (1), the commission

 

(a) must specify the oil and gas activities the person is permitted to carry out, and

 

(b) may impose any conditions on the permit that the commission considers necessary.

 

(3) A permit and any authorizations granted to the applicant for the permit may be issued as a single document.

 

(4) If the commission issues a permit under subsection (1), the commission must provide notice, in accordance with subsection (5), to the land owner of the land on which an oil and gas activity is permitted to be carried out under the permit.

 

(5) A notice under subsection (4) must

 

(a) advise the land owner of the issuance of the permit and of the location of the proposed site of an oil and gas activity on the land owner's land, and

 

(b) state that the land owner may appeal under section 72 the decision to issue the permit, and include an address to which an appeal may be sent.

 

(6) A permit holder must not begin an oil and gas activity on a land owner's land before the expiry of 15 days from the day the permit was issued, unless the land owner consents in writing to the activity beginning before the expiry of that period.

 

Actions by commission respecting permit

26

(1) The commission may

 

(a) refuse to issue a permit,

 

(b) suspend a permit or a permission specified in a permit,

 

(c) cancel a permit or a permission specified in a permit, or

 

(d) amend a permit.

 

(2) Without limiting the authority of the commission under subsection (1), the commission may make a decision under subsection (1) if the applicant or permit holder does any of the following:

 

(a) contravenes or has contravened

 

(i)  this Act, the regulations, a permit, an authorization or an order issued under this Act, or

 

(ii)  the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act or regulations made under that Act;

 

(b) fails to meet or no longer meets any of the conditions of section 24 (4);

 

(c) fails to meet or no longer meets the requirements prescribed for the purposes of section 25 (1), if any;

 

(d) begins an oil and gas activity permitted by a permit but then fails to carry out or continue that oil and gas activity;

 

(e) engages in or has engaged in a pattern of conduct that shows, in the commissioner's opinion, that the person is unfit to have a permit;

 

(f) is or has been convicted of an offence under

 

(i)  this Act or any other enactment, or

 

(ii)  a law enacted by the government of Canada, another province of Canada or a foreign jurisdiction

 

for conduct that shows, in the commissioner's opinion, that the person is unfit to have a permit.

 

(3) Without limiting the authority of the commission under subsection (1), the commission may make a decision under subsection (1) with respect to an applicant or permit holder if the applicant or permit holder is an employer, employee, officer, director or agent of a

 

(a) permit holder against whom the commission has made a decision under subsection (1), or

 

(b) permit holder that has an employee, officer, director or agent against whom the commission has made a decision under subsection (1).

 

(4) Without limiting the authority of the commission under subsection (1), the commission may make a decision under subsection (1) with respect to a permit holder who holds more than one permit for any contravention by the permit holder of

 

(a) any of the permit holder's permits, or

 

(b) any order issued to the permit holder with respect to oil and gas activities permitted under any of the permit holder's permits.

 

(5) If the commission suspends or cancels a permit or a permission under subsection (1) (b) or (c), the commission may also suspend or cancel an authorization issued to the permit holder for a related activity of an oil and gas activity permitted by the permit, whether or not a specified enactment prohibits the suspension or cancellation of the authorization or requires the commission to make a finding other than the suspension or cancellation of a permit before suspending or cancelling an authorization.

 

(6) The commission must give a permit holder an opportunity to be heard before making a decision under subsection (1) (b), (c) or (d) or (5) and must notify the permit holder of its decision under any of those provisions.

 

(7) If the commission refuses under subsection (1) to issue a permit, the commission must provide notice, in accordance with subsection (8), to the land owner of the land on which the applicant for the permit intended to carry out an oil and gas activity.

 

 

(8) A notice under subsection (7) must advise the land owner

 

(a) that the commission has refused to issue a permit,

 

(b) that the applicant for the permit may, in relation to the refusal, request a review under section 70 or appeal under section 72, and

 

(c) that the land owner may, on request, be a party to an appeal referred to in paragraph (b).

 

Spent permit or permission

27

(1) The commission, on its own initiative or on application by a permit holder, may declare to be spent

 

(a) a permit, if the commission considers that the permit holder no longer requires the permit,

 

(b) a permission specified in a permit, if the commission considers that the permit holder no longer requires the permission, and

 

(c) despite anything in a specified enactment prohibiting the declaration, an authorization held by the permit holder, if the commission considers that the permit holder no longer requires the authorization.

 

(2) Before the commission makes a declaration under subsection (1) on its own initiative, the commission must give the permit holder an opportunity to be heard.

 

(3) If the commission declares a permit or permission or an authorization to be spent under subsection (1), the commission must provide written notice of that declaration to the permit holder or former permit holder.

 

Permitted activity under pipeline permits

28

(1) In this section:

 

"applicable Act" means the Forest Act, the Forest and Range Practices Act, the Railway Act and the Railway Safety Act;

 

"regulator" means a person authorized to grant an approval under an applicable Act.

 

(2) Despite anything in an applicable Act but subject to subsection (3),

 

(a) the commission, in a pipeline permit, may give permission to the pipeline permit holder to construct or operate a pipeline across, along, over or under any highway, road, public place, railway, underground communication or power line or another pipeline, and

 

(b) the pipeline permit holder may carry out the activities referred to in paragraph (a) in accordance with the pipeline permit and this Act.

 

(3) If, but for subsection (2), a permit holder would not be entitled to carry out the activities referred to in subsection (2) (a) without obtaining an approval under an applicable Act, the regulator, on application made by the pipeline permit holder in accordance with the applicable Act, must grant the approval to the pipeline permit holder, but may impose, with respect to the carrying out of those activities, any conditions that the regulator is authorized to impose on the approval under the applicable Act.

 

Transfer of permit and authorizations

29

(1) On application in writing signed by both a permit holder and a person to whom the permit holder wants the permit to be transferred, the commission

 

(a) may transfer the permit to that person, subject to any conditions the commission considers necessary, and

 

(b) if the commission transfers the permit under paragraph (a), must transfer, despite anything in a specified enactment prohibiting the transfer, all authorizations issued to the permit holder for related activities of an oil and gas activity permitted by the permit.

 

(2) In deciding whether to grant an application under subsection (1), the commission may consider

 

(a) any of the matters referred to in section 26 (2) to (4), and

 

(b) any other matter that may be considered under a specified enactment,

 

as though the person to whom the permit holder wants the permit to be transferred were an applicant for the permit and an authorization referred to in subsection (1) (b) of this section.

 

(3) A person to whom a permit is transferred under subsection (1)

 

(a) has the same rights and obligations as if the permit had been issued to that person, and

 

(b) if an authorization is transferred to that person, has the same rights and obligations as if the authorization had been issued to that person.

 

Required security

30

The commission may require a permit holder, an applicant for a permit or a transferee of a permit to provide security to the commission, in the amount the commission requires and in accordance with the regulations, to ensure the performance of an obligation under this Act, a permit or an authorization.

 

Amendment of permit

31

(1) Before submitting an application under subsection (4) for an amendment to a permit, a permit holder must provide notice to the land owner of the land on which an oil and gas activity is permitted to be carried out under the permit, and the notice must

 

(a) provide a description of the proposed amendment, and

 

(b) advise the land owner that he or she may make a submission to the commission under subsection (2).

 

(2) A land owner who receives a notice under subsection (1) may make a written submission to the commission regarding the proposed amendment within 15 days of receiving the notice.

 

(3) If a land owner makes a submission under subsection (2), the commission must send a copy of the submission to the permit holder.

 

(4) After complying with subsection (1), a permit holder may apply to the commission for an amendment to the permit holder's permit by submitting an application in writing.

 

(5) On receipt of an application under subsection (4), the commission may require the permit holder to carry out one or more of the prescribed consultations or provide one or more of the prescribed notices, as applicable, with respect to the proposed amendment.

 

(6) A permit holder required to carry out consultations or provide notice under subsection (5) must submit a written report to the commission regarding the results of the consultations or notice.

 

(7) On receipt of an application under subsection (4) and after considering a submission made under subsection (2), if any, and the results of consultations carried out or notices provided under subsection (5), if any, the commission may amend the permit holder's permit or refuse to amend the permit.

 

(8) An amendment made under subsection (7) is effective on and after the day it is made, unless the amendment changes the effect of the permit on the land of the land owner referred to in subsection (1), in which case the amendment is effective on and after the earlier of the following:

 

(a) the 15th day following the day it is made;

 

(b) the day the permit holder obtains written consent from the land owner to treat the amendment as being in effect on and after the date the consent is given.

 

(9) If the commission amends a permit under subsection (7) and the amendment changes the effect of the permit on the land of the land owner referred to in subsection (1), the commission must provide notice to the land owner in accordance with subsection (10).

 

(10) A notice under subsection (9) must

 

(a) advise the land owner of the amendment,

 

(b) state that the land owner may appeal under section 72 the decision to amend the permit, and

 

(c) provide an address to which an appeal may be sent.

 

(11) If the commission refuses to amend a permit under subsection (7), the commission must provide to the land owner referred to in subsection (1) notice in accordance with subsection (12).

 

(12) A notice under subsection (11) must advise the land owner

 

(a) that the applicant for the amendment may, in relation to the refusal, request a review under section 70 or appeal under section 72, and

 

(b) that the land owner may, on request, be a party to an appeal referred to in paragraph (a).

 

Expiration of permit and authorizations

32

(1) Subject to subsection (8), a permit and, despite anything in a specified enactment, any authorization issued to the permit holder for a related activity of an oil and gas activity permitted by the permit expire on the day after the prescribed period has elapsed if the permit holder has not by that day begun an oil and gas activity permitted by the permit.

 

(2) A permit holder, before the expiry of the permit holder's permit under subsection (1), may apply to the commission for an extension of the prescribed period with respect to the permit holder's permit and authorizations by submitting to the commission the information, application form and records required by the commission.

 

(3) On receipt of an application under subsection (2), the commission may require the permit holder to carry out one or more of the prescribed consultations or provide one or more of the prescribed notices with respect to the extension for which the application is made.

 

(4) A permit holder required to carry out consultations or provide notice under subsection (3) must submit a written report to the commission regarding the results of the consultations or notice.

 

(5) On application under subsection (2), the commission may

 

(a) extend by not more than one year the prescribed period with respect to the applicant's permit, and

 

(b) in granting an extension, impose additional conditions on the permit and the authorizations.

 

(6) Despite anything in a specified enactment, if the commission grants an extension under subsection (5) for a period of time, the commission may also extend the term of an authorization referred to in subsection (1), other than an authorization under section 8 of the Water Act.

 

(7) An extension with respect to a permit holder's permit and authorizations may be granted under this section only once, unless the commission is satisfied there are special circumstances to justify one or more further extensions.

 

(8) Despite subsection (1), a permit or an authorization does not expire under that subsection if the commission grants an extension under subsection (5) with respect to the permit or the term of the authorization is extended under subsection (6).

 

Surrender of permit or permission

33

(1) A permit holder may send a notice to the commission advising the commission of the permit holder's intention to surrender the permit or a permission specified in a permit.

 

(2) On receipt of a notice under subsection (1), the commission may

 

(a) cancel the permit holder's permit or permission, as the case may be, and

 

(b) despite anything in a specified enactment prohibiting the cancellation, cancel an authorization issued to the permit holder for a related activity of the oil and gas activity with respect to which the notice was submitted.

 

(3) A cancellation under subsection (2) is effective on the date specified by the commission.

 

Division 2 - Rights and Obligations

Required ownership, interest or authorization

34

(1) In this section:

 

"entry agreement" means an agreement

 

(a) that is between

 

(i)  a specified permit holder, and

 

(ii)  a land owner of an area of land, and

 

(b) that authorizes the specified permit holder to enter, occupy or use the land owner's area of land for the purposes of constructing and operating a pipeline other than a flow line;

 

"specified permit holder" means a pipeline permit holder who holds a permit respecting a pipeline other than a flow line.

 

(2) Subject to sections 23 and 39 and subsection (3) of this section, a permit holder must not begin or carry out an oil and gas activity on or under an area of land unless the permit holder,

 

(a) if the area of land is not a highway, either is the owner in fee simple of the area of land or has acquired the area of land or the necessary interests in the area of land in accordance with

 

(i)  the Land Act,

 

(ii)  Part 16 or 17 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, or

 

(iii)  subsection (3) of this section, or

 

(b) if the area of land is a highway, has obtained an authorization required under an enactment to enter, occupy or use the area of land.

 

(3) Subject to subsection (4), if a specified permit holder has failed to obtain an entry agreement, the specified permit holder may expropriate, in accordance with the Expropriation Act, as much of the land or interests in it of any person as may be necessary for constructing and operating the pipeline authorized by the permit.

 

(4) The land that may be expropriated under subsection (3) must not exceed 18 m in breadth.

 

(5) On application by a specified permit holder, the commission may authorize, on any conditions the commission considers appropriate, an expropriation, in accordance with the Expropriation Act, that exceeds the breadth specified in subsection (4).

 

[…]

 

Division 2 — Regulations of the Board

Oil and gas activities

111(1)(f)

(f) respecting the exploration for and development, use and abandonment of storage reservoirs;

IV. Operating and closing storage facilities
Monitoring, reporting and verification

Summary

Section 38 of the BC Oil and Gas Act requires permit holders to, among other things:

  1. prepare and maintain the records, reports and plans prescribed or ordered to be maintained by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission; and
  2. produce or submit such records, reports and plans, if requested by the Commission.

The Commission is in turn required under section 38 to disclose such records, reports and plans to the public in accordance with the regulations.

Article/Section No.

Section 38

Instrument Text

Records, reports and plans

38  (1) A permit holder must do all of the following:

(a) prepare and maintain the prescribed records, reports and plans;

(b) prepare and maintain an emergency response program and a response contingency plan satisfactory to the commission or as prescribed by regulation, if any;

(c) prepare and maintain the records, reports and plans the commission orders the permit holder to maintain;

(d) at the request of the commission, produce the records, reports and plans referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) for inspection and copying;

(e) at the request of the commission or as prescribed by regulation, submit to the commission, in the form and manner the commission requires, the records, reports and plans referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c).

(2) The commission must disclose records, reports and plans to the public in accordance with the regulations.

Inspections

Summary

Under section 57 of the BC Oil and Gas Act, officials are entitled to enter on certain land and premises and conduct inspections and audits for the purposes of the administration and enforcement of the Act, subject to certain conditions. Section 57(5) confers the same powers and duties on peace officers.

Persons must admit officials on to the relevant land or premises for such purposes and provide any assistance necessary for their entry, and under section 61 must not cause obstruction or interference, or withhold, destroy or alter any information or substance required to be produced.

Section 58 confers a power to inspect vehicles and their contents. 

Article/Section No.

Section 57
Section 58
Section 59
Section 60
Section 61

Instrument Text

Division 3 - Inspections and Audits

Entry and inspection or audit

57

(1) In subsection (2), "dwelling" means

 

(a) a structure occupied as a private residence, and

 

(b) if only part of a structure is occupied as a private residence, that part of the structure.

 

(2) For any purpose related to the administration or enforcement of the Act, the regulations, a permit or an authorization, an official may enter, at any reasonable time, on land or premises, other than a dwelling, if the official has reasonable grounds to believe that

 

(a) the land or premises is the site of an oil and gas activity or a related activity that is regulated under the Act or the regulations or is carried on by a person who is required under this Act to hold a permit or an authorization to carry out that activity, or

 

(b) records concerning the activities referred to in paragraph (a) are kept on the land or premises.

 

(2.1) A person must admit onto land or premises referred to in subsection (2) an official entering the land or premises under that subsection, and must provide the official with the means and assistance necessary for the purpose of the entry.

 

(3) In order to obtain access under subsection (2), an official may enter land owned by a person other than a permit holder if the entry is reasonably necessary to obtain the access.

 

(4) An official who enters on land or premises under this section may

 

(a) inspect or audit anything or any activity that is reasonably related to the purpose of the inspection or audit,

 

(b) take samples and carry out tests and examinations,

 

(c) require production for the purposes of inspection or audit or copying of

 

(i)  a permit or authorization that is required for the activity, and

 

(ii)  a record required to be kept under the Act or the regulations, and

 

(d) make inquiries the official considers necessary.

 

(5) A peace officer has the powers and duties of an official under this section with respect to the enforcement of the provisions of the Act and the regulations.

 

Inspection of vehicle

58

For any purpose related to the administration and enforcement of the Act, the regulations, a permit or an authorization, an official or peace officer may

 

(a) require a person operating a vehicle to stop the vehicle, and

 

(b) carry out an inspection of a vehicle and its contents.

 

Obligation of an official

59

An official who under this Part enters onto land or premises for the purposes of administering or enforcing the Act or the regulations, stops a vehicle, requests records or plans or seizes records or plans must provide proof of identity, on the request of the person who

 

(a) is in possession or apparent possession of the land or premises,

 

(b) has apparent custody or control of the records or plans being inspected or audited,

 

(c) is in charge of the activity being inspected or audited, or

 

(d) is operating a vehicle stopped under section 58.

 

Obligation of person inspected or audited

60

(1) The operator of a vehicle must stop the vehicle when required to do so by

 

(a) an official referred to in section 58, or

 

(b) a peace officer

 

who

 

(c) is in uniform,

 

(d) displays his or her official identification card or badge, or

 

(e) is in or near a vehicle that is either a vehicle of a peace officer or readily identifiable as a commission or other government vehicle.

 

(2) A person who is described in paragraphs (a) to (d) of section 59 must produce, if and as required by the official or peace officer,

 

(a) proof of identity,

 

(b) a permit or an authorization held by the person under the Act, and

 

(c) a record or plan required to be maintained under section 38.

 

Requirement to submit to inspection or audit

61

A person must not

 

(a) obstruct or interfere with an official or peace officer acting under the authority of this Division to administer or enforce the Act or the regulations, or

 

(b) withhold, destroy, tamper with, alter, conceal or refuse to produce any information, record, plan, report, substance, sample or thing that is required to be produced by an official or peace officer administering or enforcing the Act or the regulations.

Corrective and remedial measures

Summary

Section 37 of the BC Oil and Gas Act requires permit holders and persons carrying out oil and gas activities to:

  1. prevent spillage (as defined in section 1); and
  2. promptly report any damage or malfunction likely to cause spillage that could be a risk to public safety or the environment.

If a spillage occurs, the permit holder or person must promptly:

  1. remedy the cause or source of the spillage;
  2. contain and eliminate the spillage;
  3. remediate any land or water affected by the spillage; and
  4. if the spillage is a risk to public safety or the environment, report to the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission the location and severity of the spillage, and any damage or malfunction causing or contributing to it.

Persons aware that a spillage has occurred or is likely to occur must make reasonable efforts to prevent or assist in containing or preventing it.

In the case of emergency, section 52 provides that an official may enter any land or body of water and do the things considered necessary to contain and eliminate the spillage.

Article/Section No.

Section 37
Section 52

Instrument Text

Division 2 - Rights and Obligations

Spillage

37

(1) A permit holder and a person carrying out an oil and gas activity must

 

(a) prevent spillage, and

 

(b) promptly report to the commission any damage or malfunction likely to cause spillage that could be a risk to public safety or the environment.

 

(2) If spillage occurs, a permit holder or person carrying out an oil and gas activity must promptly do all of the following:

 

(a) remedy the cause or source of the spillage;

 

(b) contain and eliminate the spillage;

 

(c) remediate any land or body of water affected by the spillage;

 

(d) if the spillage is a risk to public safety or the environment, report to the commission

 

(i)  the location and severity of the spillage, and

 

(ii)  any damage or malfunction causing or contributing to the spillage.

 

(3) A person who is aware that spillage is occurring or likely to occur must make reasonable efforts to prevent or assist in containing or preventing the spillage.

 

[…]

 

Part 5 - Compliance and Enforcement

Division 2 - Orders

Emergency measures regarding spillage

52

(1) An official may, in the case of an emergency,

 

(a) enter on any land or body of water and do the things the official considers necessary to implement and carry out measures to contain and eliminate spillage, and

 

(b) order

 

(i)  any permit holder, and

 

(ii)  the use of any person's equipment and the operator of that equipment,

 

to assist in the implementation or carrying out of measures to contain and eliminate spillage.

 

(2) The commission may reimburse a permit holder or person referred to in subsection (1) (b) for costs or expenses incurred as a result of an order issued under that subsection if the permit holder or person is not, in the commission's opinion, responsible for the spillage or for the likely source or cause of the spillage.

 

(3) If costs or expenses are incurred by the commission in implementing or carrying out measures to contain and eliminate spillage or making a reimbursement under subsection (2), the commission may do one or more of the following:

 

(a) take, deal with and dispose of the spillage, subject to section 55;

 

(b) order

 

(i)  the permit holder, or

 

(ii)  the person

 

who the commission believes is responsible for the spillage or for the likely source or cause of the spillage to pay the costs and expenses, or a part of them;

 

(c) order the permit holder or person referred to in paragraph (b) to indemnify the commission for costs or expenses paid by the commission;

 

(d) for the purpose of paragraph (b) or (c), direct the manner of payment or indemnification.

Financial security

Summary

Under section 30 of the BC Oil and Gas Act, the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission may require holders of existing oil and gas activity permits, and applicants for such permits, to provide security, in order to ensure performance of an obligation under the Act, a permit or an authorisation.

Article/Section No.

Section 30

Instrument Text

Part 3 - Oil and Gas Activities

Division 1 - Permits

Required security

30

The commission may require a permit holder, an applicant for a permit or a transferee of a permit to provide security to the commission, in the amount the commission requires and in accordance with the regulations, to ensure the performance of an obligation under this Act, a permit or an authorization.

Enforcement

Summary

Under section 49 of the BC Oil and Gas Act, an official may issue a written order to a person carrying out an oil and gas activity or a related activity (each as defined in section 1), if the official forms the opinion that:

  1. the person carrying out the activity fails to comply with the Act, the regulations, a previous order under the Act or the person’s permit or authorisation; or
  2. the order is necessary to mitigate a risk to public safety, protect the environment or promote the conservation of petroleum and natural gas resources.

An order under section 49 may require, among other things, that the person:

  1. remedy the relevant failure to comply;
  2. repair damage to the environment; or
  3. suspend or resume an oil and gas activity or an aspect of an oil and gas activity.

Section 50 provides that if the person does not comply with an order by the date required in the order, the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission may carry out an action referred to in the order, and require the person to pay the associated costs.

If the Commissioner forms the opinion that a permit holder is unfit to carry out the permitted oil and gas activities, and that there is a risk to public safety, the environment or petroleum and natural gas resources, under section 53 the Commission may:

  1. enter, seize and take control of any well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir;
  2. discontinue the activity, or take control, of same;
  3. take the steps considered necessary to protect public safety or the environment, or to prevent the flow or release of petroleum, natural gas or other substances; and
  4. carry out any other prescribed actions.

Persons found in accordance with section 62 to have contravened a provision of the Act, the regulations, a permit, an authorisation or an order may be subject to an administrative penalty under section 63.

Section 86 also specifies a number of offences for contravention of certain sections of the Act, as well as corresponding penalties including fines and imprisonment, as part of broader enforcement-related provisions set out in Part 8 of the Act. 

Article/Section No.

Section 49
Section 49.1
Section 50
Section 51
Section 52
Section 53
Section 54
Section 55
Section 56
Section 62
Section 63
Section 64
Section 65
Section 66
Section 67
Section 68
Section 85
Section 86
Section 87
Section 88
Section 89
Section 90
Section 91
Section 92
Section 93
Section 101

Instrument Text

Part 5 - Compliance and Enforcement

Division 2 - Orders

Order issued by official

49

(1) An official may, in writing, issue to a person carrying out an oil and gas activity or a related activity an order under this section with respect to those activities or any of the person's obligations under the Act or the regulations or the person's permit or authorization, if any, if, in the opinion of the official,

 

(a) the person fails to comply with the Act, the regulations, a previous order made under the Act, or the person's permit or authorization, or

 

(b) the order is necessary

 

(i)  to mitigate a risk to public safety,

 

(ii)  to protect the environment, or

 

(iii)  to promote the conservation of petroleum and natural gas resources.

 

(2) An official may issue an order to a person under subsection (1) with respect to an act or omission by the person whether or not the commission has made a finding under section 62 with respect to that act or omission.

 

(3) An order under subsection (1) must

 

(a) name the person to whom the order is addressed,

 

(b) specify the action to be taken, stopped or modified,

 

(c) state the date by which the person must comply with the order,

 

(d) state the reasons for the order,

 

(e) state that the person may request a review of the order under section 70 or appeal the decision under section 72, and include an address to which a request for a review or an appeal may be sent,

 

(f) be dated the day the order is made, and

 

(g) be served on the person to whom it is addressed.

 

(h) [Repealed 2010-9-31.]

 

(3.1) If an order under subsection (1) is addressed to an employee, agent or contractor of a permit holder, the official who served the order must serve a copy of the order on the permit holder.

 

(4) Without limiting subsection (3) (b), an order under subsection (1) may specify any of the following requirements:

 

(a) that a person must apply to obtain or amend a permit or an authorization in accordance with the Act and the regulations;

 

(b) that a person remedy a failure referred to in subsection (1) (a);

 

(c) that a person repair damage to the environment;

 

(d) that a person suspend or resume an oil and gas activity or any aspect of an oil and gas activity;

 

(e) that a person use a specified method to carry out an oil and gas activity;

 

(f) that a person conduct tests, take samples, conduct analyses and submit records and information to the commission;

 

(g) that a person control or prevent the escape of petroleum, natural gas, water, waste or other substances from a well, pipeline or facility;

 

(h) that a person repressure, recycle or carry out pressure maintenance of any pool or portion of it, or use any other enhanced recovery technique, including the introduction or injection of natural gas, water or other substances into any pool or part of it;

 

(i) with respect to water produced in relation to the production of petroleum or natural gas, that a person dispose of the water into an underground formation or as otherwise specified;

 

(j) that a person deepen a well beyond the formation from which production is being taken or has been taken;

 

(k) that a person recomplete a well;

 

(l) that a person restrict or cease production of petroleum, natural gas or water;

 

(m) that natural gas be gathered, and processed if necessary, and that the natural gas or liquid hydrocarbons extracted be marketed or injected into an underground reservoir for storage or for any other purpose;

 

(n) that a pipeline permit holder alter or divert its pipeline;

 

(o) that a permit holder prepare and implement, in a form and manner satisfactory to the official, a program of measures to contain and eliminate spillage;

 

(p) that a permit holder arrange for an independent audit of the permit holder's operations and activities and have the auditor's report submitted to the official.

 

(5) Despite subsection (3), if the official referred to in subsection (1) is of the opinion that a person's actions or omissions are of such nature that they are causing, or may imminently cause, serious damage to the environment or that they are a risk to public safety, the order under subsection (1) may be issued orally.

 

(6) If, under subsection (5), an official issues an order orally, an official, within 48 hours, must confirm the order in writing as required under subsection (3) or the order ceases to be effective.

 

(7) An official may amend an order issued under subsection (1), and subsection (3) applies to the amendment.

 

(8) If satisfied that the circumstances that gave rise to an order under subsection (1) are no longer present or have been affected by other circumstances, an official may terminate the order by providing the person to whom the order was addressed with written notice of the termination.

 

(9) An order under subsection (1) may specify a requirement that is different from a requirement in a provision of a regulation under this Act, if the regulation expressly states that the provision is subject to this section.

 

(10) Subject to subsection (9), if a regulation is made concerning a matter with respect to which an order has been made under this section, the order, if it has not been terminated under subsection (8), is no longer valid to the extent of any inconsistency between the order and the regulation.

 

Technical orders

49.1

(1) The commission may, by order related to a specific location, well or area, do any or all of the following:

 

(a) designate a field by describing its surface area;

 

(b) designate a pool by describing the surface area vertically above the pool and by naming the geological formation and the zone in which the pool occurs;

 

(c) control and regulate the production of petroleum, natural gas and water by restriction, proration or prohibition.

 

(2) After an order is made under subsection (1), the commission must publish notice of the order as prescribed.

 

(3) An order under subsection (1) (c) may specify a requirement that is different from a requirement in a provision of a regulation under this Act, if the regulation expressly states that the provision is subject to this section.

 

(4) Subject to subsection (3), if a regulation is made concerning a matter with respect to which an order has been made under subsection (1) (c), the order, if it has not been rescinded, is no longer valid to the extent of any inconsistency between the order and the regulation.

 

Commission may carry out action

50

(1) If an official issues an order under section 49 (1) and the person to whom the order was issued has not complied with the order by the date specified in the order under section 49 (3) (c), the commission may do one or more of the following:

 

(a) by order in writing, restrict or prohibit the person from carrying out an action referred to in the order;

 

(b) after giving the person an opportunity to be heard, carry out an action referred to in the order;

 

(c) by order in writing, require the person to pay to the commission the amount of all direct and indirect costs the commission determines were reasonably incurred in carrying out the action referred to in paragraph (b).

 

(2) An order referred to in subsection (1) (c) must provide the person to whom it is issued with an accounting of the expenditures relating to the action referred to in subsection (1) (b).

 

Access restricted or prohibited

51

(1) An official, by order, may restrict or prohibit, in a manner prescribed by regulation, access to a public area, including a highway, road, resource road, and railway, if the official is of the opinion that the restriction or prohibition is necessary because of hazardous conditions resulting from an oil and gas activity.

 

(2) If an official issues an order under subsection (1), the commission must confirm the order in writing within 24 hours or the order ceases to be effective.

 

Emergency measures regarding spillage

52

(1) An official may, in the case of an emergency,

 

(a) enter on any land or body of water and do the things the official considers necessary to implement and carry out measures to contain and eliminate spillage, and

 

(b) order

 

(i)  any permit holder, and

 

(ii)  the use of any person's equipment and the operator of that equipment,

 

to assist in the implementation or carrying out of measures to contain and eliminate spillage.

 

(2) The commission may reimburse a permit holder or person referred to in subsection (1) (b) for costs or expenses incurred as a result of an order issued under that subsection if the permit holder or person is not, in the commission's opinion, responsible for the spillage or for the likely source or cause of the spillage.

 

(3) If costs or expenses are incurred by the commission in implementing or carrying out measures to contain and eliminate spillage or making a reimbursement under subsection (2), the commission may do one or more of the following:

 

(a) take, deal with and dispose of the spillage, subject to section 55;

 

(b) order

 

(i)  the permit holder, or

 

(ii)  the person

 

who the commission believes is responsible for the spillage or for the likely source or cause of the spillage to pay the costs and expenses, or a part of them;

 

(c) order the permit holder or person referred to in paragraph (b) to indemnify the commission for costs or expenses paid by the commission;

 

(d) for the purpose of paragraph (b) or (c), direct the manner of payment or indemnification.

 

Control of oil and gas activities

53

(1) If, in the commissioner's opinion,

 

(a) a permit holder has engaged in a pattern of conduct that shows that the person is unfit to carry out the oil and gas activities permitted by the permit holder's permit, and

 

(b) there is a risk to public safety, the environment or petroleum and natural gas resources,

 

the commission may

 

(c) enter, seize and take control of any well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir together with any associated chattel and fixture and any pertinent records,

 

(d) either discontinue all activity or take over the management and control of the well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir,

 

(e) take the steps the commission considers necessary

 

(i)  to prevent the flow or release of petroleum, natural gas or other substances from any stratum that a well enters, including plugging a well at any depth, or

 

(ii)  for public safety or to protect the environment, and

 

(f) carry out any other prescribed actions.

 

(2) If the commission takes control of a well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir,

 

(a) the commission may issue orders concerning the well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir to

 

(i)  the permit holder, and

 

(ii)  an officer, employee, agent and contractor of the permit holder operating the well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir,

 

and, if the commission issues an order to a person referred to in either subparagraph (i) or (ii), the order applies to both the person referred to in subparagraph (i) and the persons referred to in subparagraph (ii), and

 

(b) subject to section 55, the commission may take, deal with and dispose of all petroleum, natural gas or other substances from the well, pipeline, facility or storage reservoir.

 

(3) The commissioner may order by whom and to what extent costs and expenses incurred as a result of proceedings taken under this section are to be paid.

 

Use of proceeds

54

From the proceeds of spillage disposed of under section 52 (3) (a) or of petroleum, natural gas or other substances disposed of under section 53 (2) (b), the commission

 

(a) must pay royalties owed with respect to the petroleum or natural gas under Part 10 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act, and

 

(b) after making the payments referred to in paragraph (a), may pay

 

(i)  costs and expenses incurred as a result of proceedings taken under section 52 or 53, as applicable, and

 

(ii)  costs and expenses of carrying out investigations and conservation measures that the commission considers necessary in connection with the exercise of its powers under section 52 or 53.

 

Payment into court

55

The net proceeds of spillage disposed of under section 52 (3) (a) or of petroleum, natural gas or other substances disposed of under section 53 (2) (b) remaining after payment of the costs and expenses under section 54 must be paid by the commission into the Supreme Court, and must be paid out to the persons and in the amounts as may be determined by the court on application of a person claiming to be entitled to any of the proceeds.

 

Statutory immunity

56

(1) Subject to subsection (2), no legal proceeding for damages lies or may be commenced or maintained against the government, the commissioner, the commission, an official or the commission's directors or employees because of anything done or omitted

 

(a) in the performance or intended performance of a duty under sections 50 to 53, or

 

(b) in the exercise or intended exercise of a power under sections 50 to 53.

 

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person referred to in that subsection in relation to anything done or omitted by that person in bad faith.

 

[…]

 

Division 4 - Contraventions and Administrative Penalties

Contraventions

62

(1) After giving an opportunity to be heard to a person who is alleged to have contravened a provision of the Act, the regulations, a permit, an authorization or an order, the commission may find that the person has contravened the provision.

 

(2) If a corporation contravenes a provision referred to in subsection (1), a director, agent or officer of the corporation who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the contravention also contravenes the provision.

 

(3) If an employee, contractor or agent of a permit holder contravenes a provision referred to in subsection (1) in the course of carrying out the employment, contract or agency, the permit holder also contravenes the provision.

 

(4) If a person contravenes a provision referred to in subsection (1), any other person who

 

(a) is directly or indirectly responsible for the act or omission that constitutes the contravention, and

 

(b) is a contractor, employee or agent of the person or of an other person described in paragraph (a)

 

also contravenes the provision.

 

(5) The commission may not find that a person has contravened a provision referred to in subsection (1) if the person demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commission that

 

(a) the person exercised due diligence to prevent the contravention, or

 

(b) [Repealed 2012-27-10.]

 

(c) the person's actions relevant to the provision were the result of an officially induced error.

 

(6) If

 

(a) a corporation referred to in subsection (2),

 

(b) an employee, contractor or agent referred to in subsection (3), or

 

(c) a person referred to in subsection (4)

 

has not contravened a provision referred to in subsection (1) as a result of demonstrating to the satisfaction of the commission anything referred to in subsection (5) (a) and (c), the commission may find that any of the other persons referred to in subsections (2) to (4) has contravened the provision, unless the other person demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commission anything referred to in subsection (5) (a) and (c).

 

(7) Nothing in subsection (5) prevents

 

(a) an official from issuing an order under section 49 (1) to a person with respect to an act or omission by the person, or

 

(b) the commission from doing anything referred to in section 50.

 

(8) A person does not contravene a provision referred to in subsection (1) by doing or omitting to do something if that act or omission is reasonably necessary to conform with the requirements of the Workers Compensation Act or any regulations under that Act.

 

Administrative penalties

63

(1) If the commission finds that a person has contravened a provision referred to in section 62 (1), the commission may impose an administrative penalty on the person in an amount that does not exceed the prescribed amount.

 

(2) Before the commission imposes an administrative penalty on a person, the commission must consider the following:

 

(a) previous contraventions by, administrative penalties imposed on or orders issued to

 

(i)  the person,

 

(ii)  if the person is an individual, a corporation for which the individual is or was an officer, director or agent, and

 

(iii)  if the person is a corporation, an individual who is or was an officer, director or agent of the corporation;

 

(b) the gravity and magnitude of the contravention;

 

(c) the extent of the harm to others resulting from the contravention;

 

(d) whether the contravention was repeated or continuous;

 

(e) whether the contravention was deliberate;

 

(f) any economic benefit derived by the person from the contravention;

 

(g) the person's efforts to prevent and correct the contravention;

 

(h) any other matters prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

 

(3) If a person is charged with an offence under this Act, an administrative penalty may not be imposed on the person in respect of the same circumstances that gave rise to the charge.

 

Notice of contravention or penalty

64

If the commission finds that a person has contravened a provision referred to in section 62 (1) or imposes an administrative penalty on a person, the commission must give to the person a notice of the finding or administrative penalty and the notice must specify the following:

 

(a) the contravention;

 

(b) the amount of the penalty, if any;

 

(c) the date by which the penalty, if any, must be paid;

 

(d) the person's right to request a review of the decision under section 70 or to appeal the decision under section 72;

 

(e) an address to which a request for a review or an appeal may be sent.

 

Due date of penalty

65

The person on whom an administrative penalty is imposed must pay the administrative penalty

 

(a) if paragraph (b) does not apply, within 30 days after the date on which the notice referred to in section 64 is served on the person, or

 

(b) by the later of the following:

 

(i)  if the person requests a review of the administrative penalty under section 70, 30 days after the date on which the notice referred to in section 71 (1) (b) is served on the person, unless the penalty is rescinded under section 71 (1) (a);

 

(ii)  if the person appeals the administrative penalty under section 72 and the appeal tribunal does not make an order under section 72 (4) with respect to that appeal, 30 days after the date on which the decision of the appeal tribunal is served on the person, unless the penalty is rescinded under section 72 (6) (a) or dealt with as described in section 72 (6) (b).

 

Enforcement of administrative penalty

66

(1) An administrative penalty constitutes a debt payable to the government by the person on whom the penalty is imposed.

 

(2) If a person fails to pay an administrative penalty as required under section 65,

 

(a) the government may file with the Supreme Court or Provincial Court a certified copy of the notice imposing the administrative penalty and, on being filed, the notice has the same force and effect, and all proceedings may be taken on the notice, as if it were a judgment of that court, and

 

(b) the commission may refuse to consider applications made by the person under section 24.

 

Revenue from administrative penalties

67

The commission must pay all amounts derived from administrative penalties into the consolidated revenue fund.

 

Time limit for imposing an administrative penalty

68

(1) The time limit for making a finding under section 62 and giving a notice under section 64 is

 

(a) 3 years after the date on which the act or omission that is alleged to constitute the contravention occurred, or

 

(b) if the commissioner issues a certificate described in subsection (2) of this section, 3 years after the date on which the commissioner learned of the act or omission referred to in paragraph (a).

 

(2) A certificate purporting to have been issued by the commissioner certifying the date referred to in subsection (1) (b) is proof of that date.

 

[…]

Part 8 - Offences and Court Orders

Time limit for commencing a prosecution

85

(1) The time limit for laying an information to commence a prosecution for an offence under this Act is

 

(a) 3 years after the date on which the act or omission that is alleged to constitute the offence occurred, or

 

(b) if the commissioner issues a certificate described in subsection (2), 3 years after the date on which the commissioner learned of the act or omission referred to in paragraph (a).

 

(2) A certificate purporting to have been issued by the commissioner certifying the date referred to in subsection (1) (b) is proof of that date.

 

Offences

86

(1) A person who contravenes section 21, 35 (1), 36 (1), 37 (1) or (2), 39 (3), 40, 61 or 81, or in relation to an order issued under section 49, section 82, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1 500 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 3 years, or to both.

 

(2) A person who contravenes section 35 (3) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1 000 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or to both.

 

(3) A person who contravenes section 34, 38 (1) or 39 (1), or in relation to an order issued under section 53 (2) (a), section 82, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 000 or to imprisonment for not more than one year, or to both.

 

(4) A person who contravenes section 35 (2) or 76 (1), or in relation to an order issued under a section not referred to in subsections (1) to (3) of this section, section 82, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $100 000.

 

(5) A person who contravenes section 37 (3) or 60 (1) or (2) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $25 000.

 

(6) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may provide by regulation that

 

(a) a contravention of a regulation is an offence, and

 

(b) a person convicted of an offence for a contravention of a regulation is liable to a fine not exceeding a maximum amount, or to imprisonment not exceeding a maximum length, or to both.

 

(7) If the maximum fine or imprisonment provided by a regulation under subsection (6) (b) is less than that provided by a provision of this Act, the regulation prevails.

 

(8) If a contravention continues for more than one day, the offender is liable to a separate penalty, without notice and without a separate count being laid, for each day that the contravention occurs.

 

(9) In a prosecution for an offence under this Act, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by the defendant's contractor, employee or agent.

 

(10) Subsection (9) applies even if the contractor, employee or agent has not been identified or prosecuted for the offence.

 

(11) If a corporation commits an offence under this Act, a director or officer of the corporation who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the offence also commits the offence.

 

(12) If a person commits an offence under this Act, any other person who

 

(a) is directly or indirectly responsible for the act or omission that constitutes the offence, and

 

(b) is a contractor, employee or agent of the person or of an other person described in paragraph (a)

 

also commits the offence.

 

(13) Due diligence, mistake of fact and officially induced error are defences to a prosecution under this Act.

 

(14) If

 

(a) a corporation referred to in subsection (11), or

 

(b) a person referred to in subsection (12),

 

has not committed an offence under this Act as a result of subsection (13), the other persons referred to in subsections (11) and (12) may be found guilty of an offence, subject to subsection (13).

 

(15) Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

 

Remedies preserved

87

(1) Subject to section 63 (3), a proceeding, conviction or penalty for an offence under this Part does not relieve a person from any other liability.

 

(2) If the commission imposes an administrative penalty on a person, a prosecution for an offence under this Act for the same contravention may not be brought against the person.

 

Order for compliance

88

(1) If the commission considers that a person is not complying, or has not complied, with an order issued under this Act, the commission may apply to the Supreme Court for either or both of the following:

 

(a) an order directing the person to comply with the order or restraining the person from violating the order;

 

(b) an order directing the directors and officers of the person to cause the person to comply with or to stop violating the order.

 

(2) On application by the commission under this section, the Supreme Court may make an order it considers appropriate.

 

Court order to comply

89

If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, then, in addition to any punishment the court may impose, the court may order the person to comply with the provision.

 

Restitution

90

If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, then, in addition to any other penalty, the court may order the person to pay compensation or make restitution.

 

Court orders

91

If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, then, in addition to any other punishment that may be imposed, the court may, by order, do one or more of the following:

 

(a) prohibit the person from doing anything that may result in the continuation or repetition of the offence;

 

(b) direct the person to take any action the court considers appropriate to remedy or avoid any harm to the environment or public safety that results or may result from the act or omission that constituted the offence;

 

(c) direct the person to publish, at the person's own cost, the facts relating to the conviction;

 

(d) direct the person to compensate the commission for all or part of the cost of any remedial or preventative action taken by or on behalf of the commission as a result of the act or omission that constituted the offence;

 

(e) direct the person to pay court costs;

 

(f) direct the person to pay the costs of the investigation.

 

Penalty for monetary benefit

92

(1) If the court convicts a person of an offence under this Act, the court may increase a fine imposed on the person by an amount equal to the court's estimation of the amount of the monetary benefit acquired by or that accrued to the person as a result of the commission of the offence.

 

(2) A fine increased under subsection (1)

 

(a) applies despite any provision that provides for a maximum fine, and

 

(b) is in addition to any other fine under this Act.

 

Recovery of debts due

93

An amount that a permit holder, producer or another person is required under this Act to pay to the commission or the government is a debt due by that permit holder, producer or person to the government or the commission, as the case may be, and the debt may be recovered by the government or the commission in any court of competent jurisdiction.

 

[…]

 

Part 9 - Regulations

Division 1 - Regulations of the Lieutenant Governor in Council

Administrative penalties

101

The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations respecting the imposition of administrative penalties, including, without limiting this,

 

(a) matters to be considered before imposing administrative penalties, the criteria for determining appropriate administrative penalties, setting different limits on different administrative penalties and setting out those provisions of this Act or the regulations which, if contravened, make a person liable to an administrative penalty, and

 

(b) providing for increased administrative penalties for repeated contraventions and specifying the time within which a contravention is to be considered a repeat contravention of an earlier contravention.

Site closure

Summary

If a permit or a permission under a permit or authorisation is cancelled, declared to be spent or expires, the permit holder (or former permit holder) will be required under section 40 of the BC Oil and Gas Act to:

  1. unless ordered otherwise by the Commission, perform each obligation imposed under the under the permit, authorisation or relevant laws, that has not been performed by the date of the cancellation, declaration or expiry;
  2. comply with the prescribed requirements; and
  3. carry out any other actions ordered by the Commission for the purposes of restoration or protection of public safety.

A certificate of restoration may be applied for under section 41, and issued by the Commission if:

  1. it is satisfied that the requirements under section 40 and any other orders made under the Act have been complied with; and
  2. where a site profile is required under the Environmental Management Act, the requirements under section 43(2) have been met.

Under section 111(1)(f), the Board (as defined in section 1) can make regulations regarding the exploration for and development, use and abandonment of storage reservoirs.  

Article/Section No.

Section 40
Section 41
Section 42
Section 43
Section 111(1)(f)

Instrument Text

Part 3 - Oil and Gas Activities

Division 2 - Rights and Obligations

Obligations when permit, permission or authorization expires or is cancelled or spent

40

If a permit, a permission specified in a permit or an authorization

 

(a) is cancelled under section 26 or 33,

 

(b) is declared to be spent under section 27, or

 

(c) expires under section 32,

 

the permit holder or former permit holder, as the case may be, must

 

(d) unless otherwise ordered by the commission, perform each obligation imposed

 

(i)  in relation to the permit, permission or authorization under this Act or a specified enactment, and

 

(ii)  under the permit or authorization

 

that has not been performed by the date of the cancellation, declaration or expiry,

 

(e) comply with the prescribed requirements, and

 

(f) carry out any other actions for the purposes of restoration or the protection of public safety that the commission orders the permit holder or former holder to carry out.

 

Certificate of restoration

41

(1) A person, other than a person in a prescribed class of persons, to whom

 

(a) section 40 (a) or (b) applies, or

 

(b) an order has been issued under section 49

 

may apply to the commission for a certificate of restoration by submitting, in the form and manner the commission requires, the information and other records required by the commission.

 

(2) On application by a person under subsection (1), the commission, subject to section 43, may issue to the person a certificate of restoration certifying, on the basis of the information known to the commission at the time of certification, that the commission is satisfied

 

(a) in the case of an application by a person referred to in subsection (1) (a), that the person has complied with section 40 (d) to (f), or

 

(b) in the case of an application by a person referred to in subsection (1) (b), that the person has complied with the order referred to in that subsection.

 

(3) The issuance of a certificate of restoration does not relieve a person from any obligations under section 40 or under an order referred to in subsection (1) (b) of this section in respect of any matter that was not known to the commission at the time the certificate of restoration was issued.

 

Continuing liability

42

A cancellation, declaration or expiry referred to in section 40 or the issuance of a certificate of restoration under section 41 does not affect or relieve the permit holder or former permit holder from

 

(a) the consequences of any contravention or offence or any related fine, imprisonment, fee, charge or penalty, if the contravention or offence occurred before the cancellation, declaration or expiry, or

 

(b) any liability imposed on the permit holder or former permit holder under a specified enactment.

 

Environmental Management Act requirements must be met

43

(1) This section applies to an application for a certificate of restoration under section 41.

 

(2) The commission may not approve an application referred to in subsection (1) with respect to a site where a site profile is required under section 40 of the Environmental Management Act unless at least one of the following is satisfied:

 

(a) the commission has received a site profile required under section 40 of the Environmental Management Act with respect to the site and the commission is not required to forward a copy of the site profile to a director under section 40 (4) (b) of that Act;

 

(b) the commission has received a site profile under section 40 of the Environmental Management Act with respect to the site, has forwarded a copy of the site profile to a director under section 40 (4) (b) of that Act and has received notice from the director that a site investigation under section 41 of that Act will not be required by the director;

 

(c) the commission has received a final determination under section 44 of the Environmental Management Act that the site is not a contaminated site;

 

(d) the commission has received notice from a director under the Environmental Management Act that the commission may approve an application under this section because, in the opinion of the director, the site would not present a significant threat or risk if the application were approved;

 

(e) the commission has received notice from a director under the Environmental Management Act that the director has received and accepted a notice of independent remediation with respect to the site;

 

(f) the commission has received notice from a director under the Environmental Management Act that the director has entered into a voluntary remediation agreement with respect to the site;

 

(g) the commission has received a valid and subsisting approval in principle or certificate of compliance under section 53 of the Environmental Management Act with respect to the site.

 

[…]

 

Part 9 - Regulations

Division 2 - Regulations of the Board

Oil and gas activities

111 (1) The board may make regulations respecting the carrying out of an oil and gas activity, including, without limiting this, regulations as follows:

[…]

(f) respecting the exploration for and development, use and abandonment of storage reservoirs;

[…]

V. Management of long-term responsibilities and liabilities
Allocation of long term responsibilities & liabilities

Summary

Sections 41 and 42 of the BC Oil and Gas Act together provide that neither the cancellation, or expiry of a permit or a permission under a permit, nor the issuance of a certificate of restoration, will affect or relieve the permit holder issued with the certificate from:

  1. any obligations under section 40 or a section 49 order in respect of any matter not known to the British Columbia Oil and gas Commission at the time the certificate of restoration was issued;
  2. the consequences of any contravention or offence, or any related fine, imprisonment, fee, charge or penalty, if the contravention or offence occurred before the relevant cancellation, declaration or expiry; or

any liability imposed on the permit holder or former permit holder under a specified enactment (as defined in section 1). 

Article/Section No.

Section 41
Section 42

Instrument Text

Part 3 - Oil and Gas Activities

Division 2 - Rights and Obligations

Certificate of restoration

41

(1) A person, other than a person in a prescribed class of persons, to whom

 

(a) section 40 (a) or (b) applies, or

 

(b) an order has been issued under section 49

 

may apply to the commission for a certificate of restoration by submitting, in the form and manner the commission requires, the information and other records required by the commission.

 

(2) On application by a person under subsection (1), the commission, subject to section 43, may issue to the person a certificate of restoration certifying, on the basis of the information known to the commission at the time of certification, that the commission is satisfied

 

(a) in the case of an application by a person referred to in subsection (1) (a), that the person has complied with section 40 (d) to (f), or

 

(b) in the case of an application by a person referred to in subsection (1) (b), that the person has complied with the order referred to in that subsection.

 

(3) The issuance of a certificate of restoration does not relieve a person from any obligations under section 40 or under an order referred to in subsection (1) (b) of this section in respect of any matter that was not known to the commission at the time the certificate of restoration was issued.

 

Continuing liability

42

A cancellation, declaration or expiry referred to in section 40 or the issuance of a certificate of restoration under section 41 does not affect or relieve the permit holder or former permit holder from

 

(a) the consequences of any contravention or offence or any related fine, imprisonment, fee, charge or penalty, if the contravention or offence occurred before the cancellation, declaration or expiry, or

 

(b) any liability imposed on the permit holder or former permit holder under a specified enactment.

Financial contributions to long term stewardship

Summary

Under section 75 of the BC Oil and Gas Act, the Commission may, on its own initiative or by application, designate the following, among others, as a special project:

  1. the development or production of petroleum or natural gas using enhanced recovery techniques;
  2. the application of innovative technology, as defined by regulation; and
  3. an innovative method of carrying out oil and gas activities.

A permit holder for an oil and gas activity designated as a special project may apply for other than normal spacing under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act.

Article/Section No.

Section 75

Associated legislation:
Petroleum and Natural Gas Act

Instrument Text

Part 7 - General

Special projects

75

(1) The commission, on its own initiative or on application by a permit holder or an applicant for a permit, may designate, by order or in a permit, any of the following as a special project:

 

(a) the development or production of petroleum, natural gas, or both, from a field or pool or portion of a field or pool, using repressuring, recycling, pressure maintenance or any other technique to enhance recovery;

 

(b) the application of innovative technology, as defined by regulation;

 

(c) an innovative method of carrying out oil and gas activities and related activities;

 

(d) any other prescribed oil and gas activity or method of carrying out an oil and gas activity.

 

(2) The commission may

 

(a) make a designation under subsection (1) with or without conditions, and

 

(b) cancel or suspend a designation

 

(i)  at the request of the permit holder to whom the designation was given, or

 

(ii)  if it appears to the commission that there has been a contravention of this Act, the regulations, a permit, an authorization or an order respecting the designation or a condition of the designation.

 

(3) A permit holder with a permit for an oil and gas activity that has been designated as a special project under subsection (1) may apply to the commission for other than normal spacing under section 65.1 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act.

 

(4) For the purposes of a special project or of special projects generally, the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the board may each, in exercising a regulation-making power under this Act, make a regulation that is contrary to or inconsistent with a provision of this Act.