Petroleum & Natural Gas Tenure

The majority of subsurface petroleum and natural gas resources in British Columbia are owned by the Province. By entering into a tenure agreement with the Province, private industry can develop these resources.

Subsurface Rights

Tenure agreements with the Province give private developers rights to petroleum and natural gas resources. Typically, agreements are for three to ten years and can be renewed or extended, require exploration or development, and call for payment of rents and royalties to the Province.  Rights are provided to specific areas and may include rights to all depths, or may be restricted to certain geological formations. 

Pre-Tenure Review

Before tenures are issued, the Province conducts a pre-tenure review. This may include gathering information from provincial agencies, local governments and First Nations.  The purpose of this review is to determine whether a requested parcel should be made available for disposition.

Tenure Dispositions

The Province holds monthly petroleum and natural gas tenure dispositions. Interested parties submit sealed bids and each tenure is awarded to the party that submits the highest bid, provided the bid offers fair value.

Tenure Policies & Administration

Legislation and regulations govern the disposition, administration and management of petroleum and natural gas.

BC Oil and Gas Commission

Although provincial tenure agreements confer rights to explore for or produce petroleum and natural gas resources, approval to carry out work is not included.  Each oil and gas activity, such as a geophysical survey or drilling a well, must have specific approval from the BC Oil and Gas Commission.  The BC Oil and Gas Commission in an independent, single-window regulatory agency with responsibilities for overseeing oil and gas operations in British Columbia, including exploration, development, pipeline transportation and reclamation. 

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