Regulatory updates in the Oil and Gas Industry in February 2019

The following legislative updates are a sample of the changes that have taken place in February. For a comprehensive update of legislative and regulatory changes sign up for our trial subscription.



Topic: Trans Mountain Reconsideration


Date Released: February 2019


Summary of changes: 

  • The NEB concluded that the project would likely cause adverse environmental effects, most especially to the Southern resident killer whale, and on Indigenous cultural use associated with the Southern resident killer whale. 

  • Despite the adverse effects to marine life, the NEB concluded that the total cumulative effect of the project would only make up for a small percentage of the total marine traffic that will take place regardless of whether the Trans Mountain project be approved or not.

  • NEB also recommends that the Trans Mountain be approved, subject to 156 conditions they set which also includes revised conditions as per previous report and 16 new recommendations.

Title of Act or Regulation: Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (RS 1985 c. O-7) 

In force date: February 26, 2019

Summary of changes: 

  • Section 5.021 describing the net environmental benefits of using spill-treating agent has been expanded.

  • Section 25.1 a section also describing the use of spill-treatment agents has been amended to included a provision that allows the use of the agent in accordance to the regulations.

  • Subsection 25.1(3) has also been amended to change the requirements to allow the use of spill-treatment agents, which includes the removal of the following requirements:

    • providing the approval in writing;

    • and the consultation with the Minister and the Minister of environment.

Topic: Proposed Draft Pipeline Financial Requirements Guidelines 

Date Released: February 2019

Summary of changes: 

  • The Pipeline Financial Requirements Guidelines (Guidelines) provide further details on how
    a pipeline company should demonstrate that it meets the financial resource requirements
    established in the NEB Act and the Regulations. Each company’s information will be assessed
    on a case-by-case basis. These Guidelines may be amended from time to time by the NEB as
    necessary. The Guidelines do not restate all of the particular requirements of the NEB Act or
    Regulations and each company is responsible for ensuring familiarity and compliance with the
    statutory requirements.

  • The Guidelines apply in a manner that is supplementary to the requirements of the NEB Act and
    the Regulations. In the event of any inconsistency or discrepancy between the Guidelines and the
    NEB Act and/or the Regulations, the NEB Act and Regulations will prevail over the Guidelines.

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Topic: Proposed Ambient Air Quality Guideline - Total Reduced Sulphur

Released: February 2019, comments are invited until March 25, 2019

Summary of changes: 

  • The Alberta Environment and Parks is proposing that the 30 minute average Alberta ambient air quality guideline for total reduce sulphur compounds (TRS) is 5 ppb2, to be used for odour management.



Topic: Proposed New Ambient Air Quality Guideline – Ozone 

Released: Updated February 2019, effective April 1, 2019

Summary of changes: 

  • The Alberta Environment and Parks has updated the Ambient Air Quality Guideline – Ozone to a 1-hour daily maximum Alberta ambient air quality objective for ozone (O3) is 150 µg m-3 (76 ppb) based on pulmonary effects.

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British Columbia


Topic: Prevention Of Site Contamination From Soil Relocation Final Policy Direction Paper

Date Released: February 2019

Summary of changes:

  • The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is proposing changes on tracking transport and deposit of soil from contaminated sites in British Columbia.

  • This final policy direction paper:

    • Provides background information on current soil relocation legal provisions;

    • Outlines the regulatory review and consultation process used by the ministry to develop the proposed changes;

    • Confirms the ministry's commitment to working together with Indigenous Peoples in B.C.;

    • Sets out proposed changes in relation to current legal provisions, with a discussion of rationale and implications;

    • Provides a summary table of proposed changes; and

    • Describes planned next steps and time frame for implementing the proposed changes.


Topic: Proposed amendments made to the Drilling and Production Regulation effective January 1, 2020

Released date: February 2019, effective January 1, 2020

Summary of changes:

  • Significant amendments include the addition of new sections describing Leak detection and repair.

  •  The amendments also include the creation of a new division added in Part 7 (Safety, Security and Pollution Prevention) which describes Natural Gas Emission and the different kind of facility devices that fall under this category. 

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Topic: Proposed changes on Liquid Fuels Code Adoption Document created under the Technical Standards & Safety Act, 2000

Date Released: February 2019

Summary of changes:

  • The proposed changes to the Code Adoption Document includes:

    • Harmonized Tank Record-keeping Requirements

    • Editorial Clarification on Standards Referenced

    • Additional Requirements for Cleaning CAN/ULC-S601 or API 650 Tanks

    • Correction of Table 3 Reference

    • Consolidation of References to Prohibitions in Additional Section of the LFHC

    • Explanatory Background Added to Leak Detection and Monitoring of Aboveground Storage Tanks

    • Compliance Costs


Topic: Proposed changes on the Ontario Fuel Regulations

Released date: February 2019, comments invited until March 29, 2019

Summary of changes:

  • The Ministry of Environment is proposing the following amendments to O. Reg. 535/05 (Ethanol in Gasoline) under the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.19:

    • require gasoline fuel suppliers to maintain an average of 15% renewable content (e.g. ethanol) in regular grade gasoline, by volume per calendar year as early as 2025

    • require renewable content (e.g. ethanol) used for compliance to emit significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum gasoline, on a lifecycle basis, concurrently

    • other potential updates related to a new lifecycle assessment model, e.g. updating the compliance formula.

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