Geologic Carbon Storage in Ontario

ERO number
019-4770
Notice type
Policy
Act
Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.12
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
January 11, 2022 - March 14, 2022 (62 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
January 11, 2022
to March 14, 2022

Decision summary

We’re taking the first step towards removing barriers for geologic carbon storage in Ontario and have released our longer-term plan for proposals to regulate carbon storage and the demonstration or testing of other new technologies through a phased approach, informed by the feedback received on the Geologic Carbon Storage discussion paper.

Decision details

We have planned a phased approach to remove known barriers and to develop proposals for a framework to regulate geologic carbon storage and other new technologies in Ontario. This approach is intended to ensure safe and responsible development while providing clarity to support businesses in managing emissions, producing low-carbon hydrogen, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

This approach will provide opportunities to work with Indigenous communities and organizations, stakeholders, and the public through each phase to build a framework that works for Ontario.

We have developed a Roadmap that outlines the plan to develop proposals for a clear framework to regulate geologic carbon storage in Ontario – which can be viewed on Ontario.ca through the link provided below.

As a first step of the phased approach towards addressing barriers to the permanent geological storage of carbon in the province, changes have been proposed to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act to remove the current prohibition. A proposal notice for this proposed change is linked below.

Future phases would propose additional legislative and regulatory changes to support carbon storage demonstration projects and other new technologies (initially on private land), and eventually establish a framework for commercial-scale projects (Crown and private land).

Comments received

Through the registry

28

By email

8

By mail

2
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

Comments were received from Indigenous communities and organizations, industry, industry associations, economic development groups, service providers, academia, well operators, and other members of the public. All comments received were reviewed and considered in developing the approach.

What we heard:

  • Suggestions on the quick action towards regulatory clarity and certainty are critical for business and investment planning. The phased approach outlined within the roadmap is intended to provide a clear path forward and near-term actions to address some barriers and ultimately enable geologic carbon storage.
  • Encouragement on the removal of all prohibitions on carbon storage to maximize economic viability and access to carbon sequestration resources including the prohibition on injecting carbon dioxide underground for the purpose of carbon storage in association with a project to enhance the recovery of oil or gas, which the discussion paper proposed to continue prohibiting. In response to this feedback, the first phase of our plan proposes the complete removal of the existing prohibition of carbon sequestration in the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act.
  • A need to provide clarity on storage rights and how to acquire them and the long-term responsibility for sites and associated liability – these will be considered in future phases of the project.
  • An interest in further engagement and participation as any regulatory framework and future projects are developed. The phased approach to develop a framework to regulate geologic carbon storage would provide opportunities for engagement throughout to build an approach that works for Ontario businesses and communities.
  • Desire for a comprehensive strategy/framework for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the province, as well as government incentives to improve the economics of these costly activities. These were considered to be beyond the scope of this proposal.
  • Criticism of the proposal included noting that geologic carbon sequestration does not reduce emissions at-source and may support the continued use of fossil fuels. The creation of a regulatory framework for geologic carbon sequestration is expected to provide Ontario with the flexibility needed to support a transition to a low-carbon economy.

The ministry also received input on the discussion paper from Indigenous communities and organizations, highlighting the need for further consultation on the details of the policy framework and individual projects, as well as interest in opportunities for community participation in projects, and to share economic benefits of CCUS. The ministry will continue to engage with Indigenous communities and organizations as we move forward.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

MNRF - PD - Resources Planning and Development Policy Branch
Address

300 Water Street, 2nd Floor, South Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 8M5
Canada

Connect with us

Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNDMNRF - RPDPB - Resources Development Section
Address

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

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-4770
Notice type
Policy
Act
Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.12
Posted by
Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Proposal posted

Comment period

January 11, 2022 - March 14, 2022 (62 days)

Proposal details

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.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

MNDMNRF - RPDPB - Resources Development Section
Address

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

Comment

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from January 11, 2022
to March 14, 2022

Connect with us

Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNDMNRF - RPDPB - Resources Development Section
Address

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