Proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 245/97 to regulate compressed air energy storage in porous rock reservoirs and make other amendments to reference more current standards for the regulated sector

ERO number
019-2935
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.12
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Transferred to
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
January 19, 2021 - March 5, 2021 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:

January 19, 2021
to March 5, 2021

Proposal summary

We are seeking feedback on proposed regulatory changes that would ensure compressed air energy storage projects using porous rock reservoirs are regulated, by making them subject to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act. Other technical and administrative changes to the regulation and associated standards are also proposed.

Proposal details

Under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, we regulate the drilling and operation of wells, and associated pipelines and equipment, used for activities such as the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, salt solution-mining, the underground storage of hydrocarbons, and compressed air energy storage projects using salt caverns. Almost all these activities occur in southwestern Ontario where the geology is the most conducive.

The following changes are being proposed:

Amendments to Ontario Regulation 245/97

  1. Make additional compressed air energy storage projects – those using porous rock reservoirs for storage – subject to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, providing a framework for some of these projects to seek approvals and operate under the Act. Prohibit other compressed air energy storage projects in reservoirs if they do not meet the scope of criteria set out in the proposed regulation. 
  2. Make administrative updates to existing regulation provisions related to Trustees to remove Banks and Credit Unions, as they are prohibited from acting as trustees under other legislation.

Amendments to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources of Ontario Provincial Operating Standards and Provincial Standards for Compressed Air Energy Storage

  1. Update references to technical standards, produced by organizations like the Canadian Standards Association and American Petroleum Institute, and adopted under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act framework, in a manner that will ensure that these references remain current into the future. 

If approved, the effective date of these changes would be July 1, 2021.

Further details of the proposal are outlined in the document included under the heading of Supporting Documents.

Regulatory impact statement

The anticipated environmental, social, and economic consequences of the proposal are expected to be neutral to positive.

In Ontario, there is currently no clear regulatory oversight for the use of wells to access porous rock reservoirs for the purpose of compressed air energy storage. The proposed changes would provide regulatory oversight of compressed air energy storage projects using porous rock reservoirs, with the objective of increased protection of public and environmental safety, as well as greater clarity and certainty for the energy storage industry. Another key objective of the proposed regulatory approach is to ensure consideration of input from local and Indigenous communities, and the public, in the application process for this type of compressed air energy storage project. 

The proposed updates to reference current external technical standards would improve clarity and certainty which would be expected to increase public and environmental safety going forward; however, it is recognized that the oil, gas, salt, and storage industries generally follow the most current standards as a part of their own business practices.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

MNRF - RPDPB - Resources Development Section
Address

300 Water Steet
2nd Floor South
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from January 19, 2021
to March 5, 2021

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Contact

Policy Advisor – Resources Development

Phone number
Email address
Office
MNRF - RPDPB - Resources Development Section
Address

300 Water Steet
2nd Floor South
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

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