Safety and Regulations
Major industry projects require provincial approval and the appropriate permits before development can move forward. Multiple agencies are involved to ensure construction and operations comply with provincial regulations and requirements.
Independent, dedicated regulator
The BC Oil and Gas Commission is an independent, single-window regulator for the natural gas industry, overseeing everything from exploration and development, to pipeline transportation and reclamation.
As the primary regulator for natural gas activities in the province, the BC Oil and Gas Commission will also regulate many aspects of B.C.’s LNG export industry.
The BC Oil and Gas Commission’s core roles include reviewing and assessing applications for industry activity, consulting with First Nations, ensuring industry complies with provincial legislation and cooperating with partner agencies. Public interest is protected through the objectives of ensuring public safety, protecting the environment, conserving oil and gas resources and ensuring equitable participation in production.
Regulatory responsibility is delegated to the BC Oil and Gas Commission through the Oil and Gas Activities Act – British Columbia’s regulatory framework for all oil and gas activities in the province.
The BC Oil and Gas Commission also has specified authority to regulate oil and gas activities under many other provincial laws and acts including the Forest Act, Heritage Conservation Act, Land Act, Environmental Management Act, and Water Sustainability Act. This authority allows the Commission to ensure all industry activities are appropriately managed and compliant.
More details about the BC Oil and Gas Commission can be found at www.bcogc.ca.
Environmental assessments and oversight
Major projects in B.C. are assessed for potentially significant adverse environmental, social, economic, health and heritage effects by the Environmental Assessment Office, as required by the Environmental Assessment Act .
When a project enters a provincial environmental assessment process, the proponent provides details on what they believe to be the potential adverse effects of the project, and how they will mitigate those effects. The Environmental Assessment Office then seeks input from scientific professionals, Indigenous groups, the public, local governments, and federal and provincial agencies to ensure that no adverse effects are missed.
There are three stages in an environmental assessment: pre-application, application review and the decision stage.
After the application review stage, provincial ministers have three options: issue an environmental assessment certificate with any conditions they consider necessary, allowing the proposed project to proceed to further permitting specific to the industry of the project, refuse to issue the certificate or require further study or assessment.
Compliance and enforcement procedures, via the Environmental Assessment Office, apply to all major industry projects once an environmental assessment certificate is granted. Before construction and operations can start however, industry must apply and receive the appropriate permits from the BC Oil and Gas Commission.
More details about the Environmental Assessment Office can be found at www.projects.eao.gov.bc.ca.
LNG is not transported by pipeline - it will leave B.C.’s coast on vessels built specifically to carry the cargo.
Transportation overseas is tightly regulated with detailed emergency-response plans and international standards applied to each shipment. Tugboats are also necessary to help LNG vessels safely navigate through inland waters.
LNG transportation overseas is regulated, primarily, by the Federal Government via Transport Canada. Export approval is granted by Canada’s National Energy Board.