The Minister of Natural Gas Development, Rich Coleman, today introduced amendments to two acts which regulate oil and gas activities in the province and support safe development practices.
Bill 40, the Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2015, will amend the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act (PNGA) to allow carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a permanent solution for disposing of carbon dioxide (CO2) in British Columbia.
Amendments will ensure CCS projects are safe, environmentally responsible and align with internationally accepted best practices.
Allowing industry to move forward with CCS projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the CO2 is not released into the atmosphere. Instead, industry will be able to remove C02 from industrial sources, like raw natural gas, and inject these emissions safely, and permanently, underground in rock formations.
The Oil & Gas Activities Act (OGAA) amendments will improve British Columbia’s rules and regulations for oil and gas activities, and include:
- Providing authority for the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) to authorize work needed to determine the location and feasibility of well sites, pipeline routes or other oil and gas activities.
- Notification protocols are being updated to remove impractical requirements such as alerting landowners living kilometres away of small work activities like maintenance on a pipeline.
- Statutory immunity provisions will be clearly defined so the OGC and the provincial government are the agencies responsible for the decisions made by individuals under OGAA.
- Regulations to improve the transparency of oil and gas activities throughout the province.
These amendments strengthen industrial oversight in preparation of more large-scale projects moving forward, such as the construction and operation of pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
Amendments are also being introduced to provide the OGC with the authority to regulate CCS projects in British Columbia, including oversight for all exploration, storage and monitoring activities.
Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman –
“British Columbia is Canada’s fastest growing natural gas producing province. We are introducing amendments that ensure the provincial regulator, the Oil and Gas Commission, will keep operations safe and the best modern practices are in place for carbon capture and storage.”
Geoff Morrison, manager of British Columbia Operations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers –
“Carbon capture and storage is a promising option to substantially reduce GHG emissions in the near future and these amendments will help the province achieve its GHG reduction targets.”
- Natural gas and oil exploration has been occurring in British Columbia for over 50 years.
- British Columbia’s regulations start with the Oil and Gas Activities Act, which was released in 2010. These regulations are responsive to modern industry practices, such as hydraulic fracturing.
- The provincial government manages industry’s access to natural gas on behalf of British Columbians. The Province collects a portion of revenues from the natural gas industry – known as royalty payments – and uses them to fund vital programs and services in health care, education, infrastructure development and more.
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a globally recognized approach to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) that would normally be released into the atmosphere. Once injected into the ground, the CO2 remains permanently trapped in deep rock, effectively reducing global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Completing CCS regulations is part of the Government of British Columbia’s 10-year Natural Gas Strategy.
British Columbia’s 10-year Natural Gas Strategy: http://www.gov.bc.ca/ener/popt/down/natural_gas_strategy.pdf
Details about the BC Oil and Gas Commission and its role in regulating oil and gas activities in the province: www.bcogc.ca