This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
March 14, 2022
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry is seeking feedback on a discussion paper exploring possible legislative changes to remove barriers to the storage of carbon dioxide, which would enable the creation of a regulatory framework to govern this and other new technologies.
Under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mining, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) regulates 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 Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act
NDMNRF is proposing that changes be made to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act that would:
- narrow the prohibitions on the injection of carbon dioxide so that going forward, the prohibition would only apply to the injection of carbon dioxide for the purpose of carbon sequestration, when used in association with a project to enhance the recovery of oil or gas
- add the ability for us to enter into agreements with companies that want to use wells to explore, test, pilot or demonstrate new technologies (such as carbon storage) in relation to wells used for oil, gas, solution-mined salt as well as underground storage resources. This would provide the ability to bring new types of projects that are associated with the same subsurface spaces where oil, gas, salt or underground storage occur, under the scope of the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act
- enhance provisions for corporate accountability and enhance existing protections to allow for the issuance of orders to prevent risks to the public or environment
Amendments to the Mining Act
NDMNRF is proposing that changes be made to the Mining Act framework that would allow us to grant authorizations to use Crown land for carbon storage activities.
Regulatory impact analysis
The anticipated environmental, social, and economic consequences of the proposal are expected to be neutral to positive.
The proposed amendments would provide greater regulatory clarity and remove barriers that inhibit Ontario from advancing new concepts and technologies as our energy needs evolve, including the geologic storage of carbon dioxide, while maintaining the protection of the public and the environment as our highest priority. Many of these types of projects are not currently subject to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act framework. Enabling NDMNRF to enter into voluntary agreements with proponents looking to use new technology in our province at the pilot or demonstration stage will provide an opportunity for shared learning, valuable knowledge and experience to inform the development of future frameworks for commercial-scale projects.
The proposal would also enhance existing protections through provisions to allow for the issuance of orders to prevent risks to the public or environment and strengthen the accountability of corporate directors involved in activities regulated under this act.
There are no annual administrative costs to business anticipated from these proposed changes. Proponents that choose to enter into an agreement may be required to undertake studies, consultations, monitoring and reporting activities, etc. as a part of the agreement, but entering into agreements would be voluntary.
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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.
300 Water Street
2nd Floor, South Tower
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