BC implements new rules for oil and gas development

New regulations that come into effect today will
move B.C. to the forefront of the petroleum and natural gas sector
in North America says Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
Minister Bill Bennett.

These changes will support growth and jobs in a vibrant
industry, while protecting the province’s natural beauty, said the
Minister as he announced the formal implementation of the Oil and
Gas Activities Act (OGAA) and its regulations.

“Growing investor confidence and technological advances are
driving B.C.’s natural gas and petroleum sector forward, and we
need to ensure this growth has regulations that make sense for
industry, stakeholders, the environment and all British
Columbians,” said Bennett. “These changes ensure B.C.’s largest
resource revenue earner continues to prosper and create jobs, while
enhancing our world-class environmental standards.”

Following extensive consultations with stakeholders, OGAA and
its regulations will modernize a regulatory framework that is
almost 50 years old. The Pipeline Act, the Oil and Gas Commission
Act and the regulatory provisions currently found in the Petroleum
and Natural Gas Act will be repealed and will now be governed under
the Oil and Gas Activities Act.

OGAA better defines and clarifies the role of the BC Oil and Gas
Commission, the regulatory agency responsible for overseeing
petroleum and natural gas operations in B.C. The commission now has
stronger compliance and enforcement powers to govern a modern
industry. A new appeal tribunal will respond to any challenges
raised about the decisions made by the commission.

“This new regulatory framework will strengthen and clarify the
independent role of the commission from permitting and engineering,
through to compliance and enforcement,” said Alex Ferguson,
commissioner and CEO of the BC Oil and Gas Commission. “This is the
culmination of an enormous amount of work by staff who will now
focus on ensuring a successful implementation.”

Comprehensive environmental requirements are a key part of the
new regulatory framework, with stronger, more consistent
environmental guidelines and standards for industry, ensuring
responsible management practices as the sector continues to

Landowners, First Nations and other stakeholders will also have
an opportunity for input on the development of natural gas and
petroleum activities. New consultation and notification
requirements will ensure the concerns of landowners, First Nations
and stakeholders are addressed and taken into consideration by
industry operators who are seeking a permit to explore for
petroleum and natural gas resources.

“Industry is prepared to work with the new regulations as the
next phase of responsible resource development in B.C.,” said Dave
Pryce, vice-president operations for the Canadian Association of
Petroleum Producers. “The regulations reflect the increased
importance of the environment, regular communication with
stakeholders and a renewed commitment to safety.”

The Oil and Gas Activities Act received Royal Assent in 2008.
Extensive consultations ensured community concerns played a role in
the development of the act. Since the act was passed, the
regulations have been developed and refined based on further

Comprehensive training has been a key component of the process
this year, providing industry and industry workers with the
necessary time further develop their understanding of the new
requirements governing the natural gas and petroleum sector.

More information about the Oil and Gas Activities Act and
details on the regulations of British Columbia’s natural gas and
petroleum sector are available on the BC Oil and Gas Commission’s
website at: target=”_blank”>www.ogc.gov.bc.ca

Source: www.marketwire.com

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