Government of British Columbia

Government of British Columbia

March 19, 2009 15:33 ET

Government of British Columbia: Community-Based Initiatives Announced for Oil and Gas

DAWSON CREEK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 19, 2009) -

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

2009EMPR0015-000443

March 19, 2009

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

DAWSON CREEK - A package of innovative, community-based initiatives related to oil and gas development has been created to enhance community life and improve relations between landowners and industry in northeastern B.C., announced Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom today.

"The growth of the oil and gas industry in the northeast has created economic benefits for all of British Columbia," said Lekstrom. "As with any industry, there are challenges - so in conjunction with communities, landowners and industry - we're taking a number of actions to address those head-on and ensure a secure, affordable energy supply while respecting the rights of residents and landowners."

Several program and regulatory areas, including those identified in the BC Energy Plan, have been developed.

FOR COMMUNITIES

Flaring Reduction Prior to 2016

The Oil and Gas Commission will seek further reduction opportunities, regulatory enhancements and innovative techniques to accelerate the BC Energy Plan goal of eliminating routine flaring by 2016. The commission will be releasing an annual report with a summary of highlights to date and a new quarterly reporting process will provide more information to residents about the steps being taken to manage these emissions.

Develop Best Practices to be a Good Neighbour

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, in co-operation with industry, will start a regional "good neighbour" initiative between companies and landowners. Its focus will be on matters of community concern such as speed and dust control.

FOR LANDOWNERS

Establish an Independent Farmer's Advocate

An independent position will be created to work directly with private landowners regarding understanding property rights, potential agricultural implications and negotiating with industry. It's expected the new Farmer's Advocate will provide direct information and support to landowners who are engaging industry.

Create a Land Agent Code of Conduct and New Licensing Requirements

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources will review professional designation and licensing requirements for land agents. This will build on the Code of Conduct for Land Agents developed in collaboration with community and oil and gas industry representatives. The Oil and Gas Commission will receive and track reports of non-compliance and provide reports back to the ministry.

Implement a Standard Surface Lease Agreement

Landowners who receive notifications of sale of the subsurface tenure will now receive an enhanced information package including a new surface lease agreement. Through the Northeast Energy and Mines Advisory Committee (NEEMAC), landowner and industry groups have reached agreement on key principles for the new B.C. standard surface lease agreement. This type of private agreement between landowners and industry is critical to a respectful and fair business relationship where industry is accessing private property.

Enhance the Mediation and Arbitration Board

The ministry will review an enhanced role for the Mediation and Arbitration Board to further improve processes for landowners. This role may include allowing landowners to file for compensation from damage from an activity and assisting in resolving disputes arising from non-compliance with the surface lease agreement.

"Each of these initiatives represents an opportunity for community stakeholders, private landowners and industry to help ensure the ongoing success of our oil and gas sector while protecting our environment and improving our quality of life in northeast B.C.," added Lekstrom. "With recent industry growth, opportunities present themselves to provide more education and work with industry to develop regulatory and operational best-practices that offer the least amount of impact for people who live close to oil and gas operations."

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province's news feeds using RSS, visit the Province's website at www.gov.bc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
    Jake Jacobs
    Public Affairs Officer
    (250) 952-0628 or Cell: (250) 213-6934
    Website: www.gov.bc.ca