Land Use - Oil & Gas

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is responsible for the Land Act, the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act (as it relates to lands), associated Crown land policies and procedures, establishing rents, fee simple dispositions (i.e., Crown grants) and for establishing Crown land reserves and withdrawals including those associated with oil and gas.

The Oil and Gas Commission (the Commission) is the regulatory agency with responsibilities for overseeing oil and gas activities in British Columbia, including exploration, development, pipeline transportation and reclamation. Responsibilities include all aspects of permitting, including enforcing industry compliance.

The Commission is the decision-maker on and responsible for activities that fall within its mandate, including the adjudication and issuance of related Crown land tenures under the Land Act.

The Commission acts on behalf of the Province to make Crown land available for oil and gas purposes through land tenures. These tenures support sustainable economic growth, contribute value to the people and province of British Columbia and sustain domestic energy production and economic development.


To determine your eligibility as an oil and gas applicant and for all matters related to oil and gas activities, the Commission is your first point of contact.

Crown land policies and procedures provide guidance on the disposition and administration of Crown land tenures issued under the Land Act.

Types of Land Disposition

Access to Crown land may be granted to eligible oil and gas applicants. The type of disposition is at the Commission’s discretion and will depend on the intended use, land use rights required, services and access available, as well as the required tenure term.  The range of dispositions may include:

  • Access to unoccupied Crown land for oil and gas purposes may be granted under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act.
  • Authorization to use Crown land may be granted under the Land Act:
    • A temporary licence may be used to authorize short-term temporary use of Crown land for investigative or other purposes that are not covered by the Permissions Policy (PDF).
    • A licence of occupation is normally issued for short-term use and for remote areas where precise tenure boundaries are not required.
    • A lease is available for long-term use where substantial improvements are needed, or where definite boundaries are necessary to avoid conflicts.
    • A statutory right of way may be issued for well sites, facilities and linear oil and gas activities to authorize continuous use for as long as is required.

In certain instances and at the discretion of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Crown land may be sold (PDF) at full market value (PDF). Sales are limited to non-shoreland and parcels suitable for registration in a Land Title Act subdivision plan, or surveyed to the satisfaction of Land Act survey standards.

A permission under the Crown land Permission Policy (PDF) may be available to undertake certain activities on Crown land. Allowed activities must fall under a specified threshold and may include camping, investigative work and aggregate testing. An application is generally not required if using Crown land in a manner consistent with the Permission Policy.  Please refer to the policy for details.

Rents for Crown Land Use

Methodologies to calculate Crown land rents for a Land Act tenure are outlined in the Pricing Policy (PDF) and the Crown land use policy (PDF) that best describes the proposed oil and gas activity such as the aggregate and quarry, industrial and utilities policies.

Rent for a temporary licence is $250 for terms up to one year, or $500 prepaid for 2 years. 

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact the Oil and Gas Commission.