Regulation of the Upstream Petroleum Sector
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Regulation of the Upstream Petroleum Sector

A Comparative Study of Licensing and Concession Systems

Edited by Tina Hunter

This discerning and comprehensive work will be a useful entry point for students embarking on study in petroleum law. Academics will find this timely examination to be an indispensible overview of upstream operations. Practitioners will find this book an illustrative review of the origins of issues surrounding regulatory frameworks in managing natural resources.
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Chapter 7: Offshore petroleum resource access and regulation in Canada

Kylie Fletcher-Johnson


Canada is one of the world’s leading petroleum producers. It claims significant proven reserves of oil and natural gas. Canada’s reserves are estimated to be in the order of 173 billion barrels of oil and 70 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Canada’s provinces, listed in order of entry into confederation, are Ontario (1867), Quebec (1867), Nova Scotia (1867), New Brunswick (1867), Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), Prince Edward Island (1873), Saskatchewan (1905), Alberta (1905) and Newfoundland and Labrador (1949). Its territories are the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. Canada has an extensive coastline, and lays claim to significant offshore resources. Petroleum resources can be found off the west coast and off the north coast (including in the Arctic). However, most of Canada’s offshore development and production is occurring off the east coast, in the Atlantic. The area off the coast of British Columbia (Canada’s west coast) is subject to a policy-based moratorium on oil and gas activities. Consequently, there are no current petroleum operations in this area. For the most part, the resources located in Canada’s north and in the offshore areas (except those within the stated jurisdiction of separate arrangements between governments) are within the jurisdiction of the federal government. However, responsibility for onshore oil and gas (and other resources) located in Yukon and the Northwest Territories has been devolved to the relevant territory. At this stage, the offshore resources in these areas remain under the control of the federal government.

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