In the Media

In the Media

The Commission comments on stories and issues regarding oil and gas regulation within B.C.’s provincial borders. If you have a media enquiry, please contact us here.

Not a single dollar of taxpayers’ money has been spent on oil and gas site clean-up since the establishment of the Orphan Site Reclamation Fund in 2006. The Commission's Comprehensive Liability Management Plan - which includes the new Dormancy Regulation - ensures 100 per cent of the cost of reclaiming oil and gas sites in B.C. continues to be paid for by industry and not B.C. residents. We have asked for the media outlet in question to issue a correction but have not yet received confirmation this will be done.

There are robust processes in place for the detection, measurement and assessment of surface casing vent flows (SCVF), gas migration and potentially leaking abandoned wells. The Commission performs 4,000 to 5,000 inspections per year on oil and gas infrastructure. If an inspector finds a leak which hasn’t been previously reported, industry is required to take corrective action.

The BC Oil and Gas Commission has been working closely with BC Hydro since 2009 when the Commission undertook a study into any possible interactions between oil and gas development and the Peace Canyon Dam. Since then, the Commission has taken a leading role in the management and mitigation of induced seismicity since first identifying it in 2012. The report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published Jan. 9, 2020 includes references to some of the work we have done in identifying and managing this issue, but only selectively.

How are heritage sites regulated?

The Commission uses the Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) and Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA) to help make decisions when it comes to Heritage Conservation Management. The HCA protects all heritage resources in B.C. whether on private or public lands. This process starts before a permit is ever granted.

  • On July 31, 2019, Coastal GasLink (CGL) self-reported to the BC Oil and Gas Commission that it had undertaken cutting in the pipeline right-of-way and a section of road without the necessary archaeological assessment.
  • The Commission has received CGL’s report and launched an investigation into the issue.  
  • The Commission’s investigation is ongoing.

Update Sept. 13, 2019: The Commission issued an order to CGL. 


There is a growing public interest in understanding how the Commission is managing this complex file, so we are including a list of frequently asked questions to help.

What are ‘Orphan Sites’?  

How does the BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) ensure the accuracy of the information it receives, because there are requirements in water licences for companies to record daily average water discharges and diversion rates, plus they must provide the Commission their overall water usage on a quarterly basis?

Recent media articles express concerns about potential effects of thermal discharge to a marine environment. The Commission has compiled the following to outline B.C.’s legal requirements and how the Commission regulates the lifecycle of oil and gas activities, including LNG facilities.

On Oct. 10, 2014, the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed a challenge from the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club of Canada. The Court agreed the way in which the Commission permits water use for industry – which ensures the protection of environmental flows for fish, future supplies for communities and can be rescinded in times of drought – is sound.  Read the judgement here.

The Commission has reviewed the recommendations in this study from the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria and makes the following observations:


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