Regulations to Act Relating to Petroleum Activities

Last updated: 22 February 2022

Before opening new areas to exploration, the Ministry shall conduct environmental impact assessments (Ch. 2a, §6a), which must include an accounting of the impacts on air and climate (§6c(e)). Environmental protection conditions may also be included in production licenses (Ch. 3, §11).


As part of the operating permit process, operators must file development plans (Ch. 4, §20). The plans must include how gas that is produced will be marketed (§21-j). Operators must also conduct impact assessment plans, including how they will try to mitigate emissions to the air (§22a). Exemptions are available for smaller facilities (§22b).


When operators apply for a production permit, they must also seek permission to burn or cold vent product (§23), which would include methane/associated gas. After the fact, they must also report on volumes of petroleum used, injected, cold vented, and burned, based as far as possible on metering (§48).


Companies producing natural gas are granted access to upstream pipeline networks, so long as their gas matches the required specs (Ch. 9, §59). Pipeline operators are responsible for maintaining their facilities (§66). Provisions describe how capacity can be expanded if there is need.


The Ministry has the authority to inspect facilities (Ch. 10, §81), and may direct licensees to offer training of civil servants (§84). Reference to penalties (§87).


A revised Guideline for Application of a Production Permit (issued February 2019) clarifies that operators must apply for production permits (for oil production and flaring/cold venting) every year (Sec. 2). It notes a well's "start-up phase" should be planned so as to minimize flaring, and flaring for non-safety reasons is not allowed (Sec. 3.1) except as written into the production permit (Sec. 3.2).  If an operator wants to increase flaring/venting volumes from the previous permit, they must document the cause, how long they will need to flare or vent at higher levels until they correct the cause, whether production can be reduced in the interval, and the consequences if approval is not granted. 


Revised Guidelines for Annual Status Report for Fields in Production (issued August 2018) describe how to complete the annual after-the-fact production form. Section 4 calls for production and injection volumes from the previous 12 months and a comparison to targets. Section 6.5 calls for a description of the operator’s flaring and venting strategies during normal operations and emergency situations, and a reporting of volumes over the previous 12 months. Section 7 calls for a description of environmental initiatives, including electrification and reduced flaring.

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