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Legislation and Regulations - Offshore Oil and Gas

Canada has a set of four principal Acts which govern oil and gas activities in the offshore:

The Canada Petroleum Resources Act governs the lease of federally owned oil and gas rights on 'frontier lands' to oil and gas companies that wish to find and produce the oil and gas. 'Frontier lands' include the 'territorial sea' (12 nautical miles beyond the low water mark of the outer coastline), and the 'continental shelf' (beyond the territorial sea). It is the statute under which the federal government must first give permission for oil and gas exploration to occur on frontier lands; and it provides opportunity for the federal government to protect the environment by attaching exploration restrictions when leasing rights or by stopping work if there is an environmental problem.

Under the Act, subsurface oil and gas rights in unexplored areas are issued during a 'public call for bids' and the Minister may attach conditions to the transfer of rights (including conditions for protecting the environment). For each right issued, the successful oil and gas company must pay a royalty to the federal government.

The Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act governs the exploration, production, processing, and transportation of oil and gas in marine areas controlled by the federal government. These areas include the 'territorial sea' (12 nautical miles beyond the low water mark of the outer coastline), and the 'continental shelf' (beyond the territorial sea). They do not include areas controlled by the provincial government. The purpose of the Act is to promote safety, protection of the environment, the conservation of oil and gas resources, and joint production agreements.

The Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act, otherwise known as the Accord Acts, implement agreements between the federal and provincial governments relating to offshore petroleum resources. The Accord Acts mirror both the COGOA and CPRA, and outline the shared management of oil and gas resources in the offshore, revenue sharing, and establishes the respective offshore regulatory boards.

Links:

Energy Safety and Security Act (Part 1)

Financial Requirements Regulations

Cost Recovery Regulations

Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations

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