Annual Review of Oil Leases
Res #: 18-12A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure
WHEREAS oil and gas development in Saskatchewan is constantly expanding; and
WHEREAS protection of the environment for current and future generations is a growing concern provincially and federally; and
WHEREAS some oil companies look at the bottom line of making money for their respective shareholders forgoing environmental concerns and other commitments;
BE IT RESOLVED that an oil lease and the written agreement be reviewed annually by the landowner, Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy and Resources to ensure that all commitments are being honored and proper environmental management is followed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an oil company be prevented from selling, leasing, lending, or otherwise moving an oil lease site until all commitments are honored; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Ministries of Environment and Energy and Resources have the necessary mechanisms to ensure that all commitments are being honored and proper environmental management is followed.
Response from Honourable Bill Boyd, Minister of Energy and Resources:
Resolution 18-12A calls on the Government of Saskatchewan to put in place processes to ensure commitments set out in an oil lease or other written agreement, between a land owner and an oil and gas company, are honoured. This would include engaging both the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy and Resources (ER) in the review of these private agreements.
Both ER and the Surface Rights Board of Arbitration (SRBA) have heard concerns from land owners about the challenges they face in enforcing the terms of private lease agreements. Although it is not practical for government ministries to become directly involved in the annual review of these arrangements, it is appropriate to consider how various Acts and regulations governing the oil and gas industry support the implementation of these agreements. For its part, the SRBA has also requested that consideration be given to providing it with better tools under its legislation for enforcing Board Orders as an alternative to pursuing these matters through the Courts.
The issue of enforcing the terms of private lease agreements will be one of the matters considered as part of the review of the Act. I would therefore encourage both SARM and its members to bring forward its proposals on this item during the review process.
Resolution 18-12A also requests that government ministries be provided with mechanisms to ensure proper environmental management is followed in the oil and gas industry. Saskatchewan has strong laws in place to ensure oil and gas companies meet proper environmental standards when conducting operations on private lands. Land owners who encounter problems with a well site or facility situated on their land are encouraged to contact ER’s regional offices. Contact information for the field offices can be found at https://www.er.gov.sk.ca/fieldoffices.