FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) is working to address the recommendations by the B.C. Auditor General’s (BCAG) recently released report, ‘The BC Oil and Gas Commission’s Management of Non-operating Oil and Gas Sites’.
The OGC says they had implemented new initiatives before, during and since the audit period which was based on the period of January 2015 and October 2018, such as;
– Partnering with First Nations from northeast B.C. to restore former oil and gas industry sites to their natural state, News Release 2019-01;
– Developing a Comprehensive Liability Management Plan, Information Bulletin 2018-02;
– Changes to orphan liability levy, Industry Bulletins, 2018-20 and 2019-01; and,
– Developing a Restoration Framework.
In May 2018, the Provincial Government enacted the Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 15) which helped make a number of improvements to the regulatory framework in B.C. for management of non-operating oil and gas sites.
The OGC says the amendments have improved the funding model, strengthened the OGC’s authority to make regulations in the areas of orphan site treatment and closure, risk assessment/mitigation, and accelerate the rate of inactive site restoration. The tools will address the restoration of orphan sites in a timely manner with no direct costs to taxpayers.
As part of the OGC’s improvement efforts, a Comprehensive Liability Management Plan (CLMP) is being developed, to hold industry accountable, addresses unrestored oil and gas sites and protects the environment and public safety. Phase one of the CLMP involves the OGC establishing regulations to increase the industry’s rate of restoration and reduce the number of inactive oil and gas sites. Requiring timely restoration will also reduce the number of potential orphan sites in the province. Engagement on the CLMP with local governments and local First Nations, industry, landowners, stakeholders and the public is ongoing according to the OGC.
A Restoration Framework that integrates restoration initiatives undertaken by the OGC and other ministries is being developed. Incorporating the recommendations from this audit into the Framework will assist in establishing a prioritized, effective and coordinated approach to restoration.