BC's natural gas royalty review
The Province is reviewing its 30-year-old oil and gas royalty framework to ensure that it meets the Province’s goals for economic development, a fair return on the public resource, and environmental protection.
Most oil and gas reserves are owned by the province, and are leased by oil and gas companies. Royalties are what the companies pay for these leases.
The existing royalty framework was developed when technology and market conditions were far different than they are today, before climate change was recognized for the challenge that it is, and before the Province had embarked on the journey of full reconciliation with First Nations.
An independent assessment identified that the existing royalty framework is wildly out of step with these considerations and badly in need of an overhaul, so this is a welcome step.
The province has provided a reasonably digestible discussion paper to help BC citizens understand the issues, but in all honesty, it's still pretty opaque. What is clear, is that embedded in the document is the assumption that oil and gas production will increase.
So it's important for us to weigh in through the province's survey or letter-writing option, even if only to let them know that a more consistent and fair royalty framework is important, that they should apply it right away (not grandfather existing wells) and that whichever of the three proposed options they choose (environmentalists uniformly vote for #1), nothing is more important than vetoing continued growth and expansion of oil and gas production.
The deadline for public input is Friday, December 10.