Proposed amendments to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, to remove the prohibition on carbon sequestration

ERO number
019-6296
Notice type
Act
Act
Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.12
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
November 23, 2022 - January 9, 2023 (47 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
January 9, 2023

Proposal summary

We are proposing to amend the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act to remove the prohibition on carbon sequestration (i.e., the permanent storage of carbon dioxide in deep underground geologic formations). If approved, these changes would represent a first step towards enabling geologic carbon storage in the province.

Proposal details

Under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act (OGSRA), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry 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.

Geologic carbon storage is one method of managing emissions. Currently, the OGSRA prohibits the injection of carbon dioxide underground for the purpose of sequestering – or permanently storing – carbon when it is done in conjunction with other injection activities regulated under this act (e.g., projects to enhance oil and gas recovery).

Based on the feedback we received on the geological carbon storage discussion paper posted in the winter of 2022, we plan to work towards creating a framework to regulate and enable the permanent geologic storage of carbon through a phased approach, while also maintaining public safety and safeguarding the environment. 

We are now proposing an amendment to the OGSRA that would remove the prohibition related to carbon storage. This proposed change is the first step in our plan to address barriers to carbon storage in the province, and operators of wells under this act would need to wait until changes are made in future phases before they could be authorized for carbon storage projects.

Future phases - which have been described in the roadmap linked at the bottom of this notice - would propose additional legislative and regulatory changes to support carbon storage demonstration projects (initially on private land) and eventually commercial-scale projects (Crown and private land).  

If approved, these changes would come into effect upon royal assent.

Regulatory impact analysis

The environmental, social and economic consequences of this proposal are expected to be neutral.

The removal of the prohibition, if approved, is an initial step towards enabling and regulating geologic carbon storage in the province.  It would help to clarify existing rules and facilitate future alignment of this regulatory framework with other Ontario and federal initiatives that are currently underway. Additional future legislative changes would be required before geologic carbon storage activities could be authorized under this act.

No direct or indirect compliance costs are expected as a result of this proposal.

Supporting materials

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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

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Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNRF - PD - Resources Planning and Development Policy Branch
Address

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

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Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNRF - PD - Resources Planning and Development Policy Branch
Address

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

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