Carbon Capture and Storage Regulatory Policy Framework

The Ministry of Natural Gas Development is developing a regulatory policy framework for Carbon Capture and Storage.

The ministry is the body most responsible for British Columbia’s natural gas and oil sector. A key component of its mandate is to develop tenure, royalty and regulatory policy for B.C.’s oil and gas industry, thereby promoting the effective and environmentally responsible management of the province’s natural gas and oil resources. In developing natural gas and oil policies, legislation and guidelines, the ministry consults with other ministries and levels of government, energy companies, First Nations, communities, environmental and industry organizations, and the public.

As part of its mandate the ministry is developing a Carbon Capture and Storage regulatory policy framework. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-mitigation method for capturing, transporting and storing industry-sourced carbon dioxide (CO2) in the pore space of rock formations deep underground. CCS is an internationally recognized strategy for reducing GHG emissions globally and in B.C.

Addressing a Regulatory Need

In B.C. the greatest potential for CCS emissions mitigation is in the natural gas sector, due to the presence of large CO2 point sources (i.e., natural gas processing plants) near good geological storage sites. B.C.'s comprehensive regulatory regime regulates all oil and gas industry activities — including underground natural gas storage and acid gas disposal, a process similar to CCS. However, current regulations were not developed with large-scale CCS in mind.

The ministry has completed a draft CCS regulatory policy framework to address any regulatory gaps, ensure that CCS is done safely, and provide transparency in CCS development. The ministry is proposing to deliver a robust regulatory model that will address key issues such as site selection, monitoring and long-term liability.

In spring 2014, the ministry conducted public consultation on the proposed regulatory policy framework. Using a discussion paper and response form posted to this website, the ministry sought input and comments on the framework. Both the discussion paper and summary report of the comments received are available here: 

In fall 2015, the Natural Gas Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 was passed. It included the first round of amendments to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act and the Oil and Gas Activities Act to enable CCS. A second round is planned for the future.

The ministry is collaborating with the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) to move forward the implementation of the proposed CCS regulatory policy framework, which will complement other emission reduction strategies such as improvements in energy efficiency, electrification, and the development of renewable alternative energy sources.

CCS Regulatory Policy in Other Jurisdictions