The proclamation of the Oil and Gas Activities Act, S.B.C.
2008, c. 36, (OGAA), on October
4, 2010, represents a significant change to the legal regime for
oil and gas activities in British Columbia. The OGAA sets out the
regulatory framework that will now govern oil and gas activity
within the Province. It attempts to simplify the previous oil and
gas framework by consolidating and modernizing the requirements
that previously existed under several acts and regulations. This
was accomplished by repealing the Oil and Gas Commission
Act, the Pipeline Act as well
as the regulatory provisions in the Petroleum and Natural Gas
Before the implementation of the OGAA, the regulatory framework
governing oil and gas activities was over 40 years old. Since then,
oil and gas activities have expanded, new technologies have
developed and expectations relating to stakeholder input and
environmental responsibility have evolved. As a result, the OGAA
attempts to address these changes by balancing economic goals with
environmental and socially responsible development.
The new legal regime consists of the OGAA itself as well several
regulations passed under the Act. The Oil and Gas Commission, the
regulatory agency that oversees oil and gas operations in British
Columbia, is continued under the OGAA. The Commission has expanded
compliance and enforcement powers and has the ability to set
technical safety and operational standards. The Board of the
Commission as well as the Provincial Cabinet has the power to make
regulations under the OGAA. The Board has exercised this power to
make regulations related to consultation and notification
requirements, geophysical activities, drilling and production
activities, pipeline and liquefied natural gas facilities, and
fees, levies and security. The Provincial Cabinet has introduced
the Oil and Gas Activities Act General
Regulation and the Environmental Protection and Management
Regulation. The Cabinet also amended regulations
which fall under other acts, such as the Petroleum and Natural Gas General
A key aspect of the OGAA framework is the expanded consultation
and notification requirements that set out who must be consulted
before an application is submitted to the Commission. These
requirements do not replace the established processes for
consultation by the Commission with First Nations.
The framework also establishes a new administrative appeal and
review process. Specified eligible persons have the ability to
request a review of certain administrative decisions under the
OGAA. For example, industry participants can request a review or
appeal of a Commission decision regarding a permit and private land
owners can appeal a decision regarding the issuance or amendment of
a permit that covers their land.
The OGAA and the Environmental Protection and Management
Regulation implement environmental standards for oil and gas
activities. The regulation sets forth the Provincial
Government's environmental objectives for water, riparian
values, wildlife and wildlife habitat, old-growth forests, resource
features and cultural heritage resources. The Commission is
required to consider these objectives when deciding whether to
authorize an oil and gas activity.
The framework also gives the Commission expanded compliance and
enforcement tools. For example, the Commission can now levy
penalties that reflect the gravity and magnitude of a
contravention, including consideration of the operator's
The OGAA website contains detailed information about the OGAA
framework and provides a variety of training materials for industry
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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In Bank of Montreal v Bumper Development Corporation Ltd, 2016 ABQB 363, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench enforced the "immediate replacement" provision in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen 2007 Operating Procedure...
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