(British Columbia) Drilling and Production Regulation (2021 updates)

Last updated: 18 May 2022

British Columbia's general upstream oil and gas regulation includes provisions that limit venting and flaring of methane, and require a fugitive emissions management program. 

The rule was initially promulgated in September 2010 (B.C. Reg. 282/2010) and amended in 2021 at last.

Section 26 sets forth plugging requirements for abandoned wells.

Section 41 prohibits venting unless the gas value, volume or flow is insufficient to support stable combustion and * is not a safety hazard, and * within 1 year of rig release, the quantity and duration of venting is minimised.

Operators must check each well for surface casing vents, at key moments in well development (end of completion; within a year of rig release; before abandonment; etc.) and as part of routine maintenance over the life of the well. If vents are discovered, the operator must notify the regulator and eliminate the hazard. If gas migration is discovered, the operator must notify the regulator and submit a risk assessment. Operators must also implement a fugitive emissions management program.

Section 42 requires operators to minimize flaring, and in fact prohibits flaring at wells except for emergency situations or for drilling operations (workover, maintenance, never more than 50,000 m3/year or as allowed under the permit). It prohibits flaring at facilities except when required for maintenance purposes or as allowed under the permit.

Section 43 stipulates that operators must notify regulators of flaring > 10,000 m3 (24 hours in advance if planned; within 24 hours if not). Operators must keep a flaring log and report volumes each month.

Flares must meet certain specs, including being anchored to the ground, and equipped with auto-ignition systems. They may not emit black smoke (Section 44). 

Operators must take steps to prevent loss or waste of product (Section 50).

Section 52 stipulates that a facility permit holder that uses hydrocarbon gas conservation equipment must ensure that the equipment is operated continuously, recovers at least 95% of the natural gas routed through the equipment, and using the natural gas recovered for a purpose other than being disposed as a waste. The permit holder is also required to maintain a record of the periods of time when the equipment is and is not in operation, in addition to the volume of gas routed through and recovered by the equipment. The section has also listed detailed technical and procedural requirements for tanks, compressors, pneumatic devices, pneumatic pumps, pneumatic compressor starters, glycol dehydrators, pipes and hatches, sampling and pressure relief systems, well surface casings, and measurement equipment.  

Operators must analyse the chemical components of the oil and gas and report their findings to the regulator (Section 67).

Want to know more about this policy ? Learn more