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The BC Energy Regulator works to ensure that the public is protected throughout the energy development process.

The secure operation of wells, pipelines and facilities is essential for public safety and environmental protection. The BCER has jurisdiction over most pipelines within provincial boundaries and maintains regular communication with operators. Many of the regulations and standards are designed specifically to safeguard operations, but permit holders are required to check equipment, train employees and report to the Regulator at various stages.

Who is Responsible for Public Safety?

Industry is responsible for the safety of their operations. The BCER ensures all permit holders meet these obligations through field inspections, engineering assessments, and the planning, training and exercising of emergency response by both companies and BCER staff. Our dedicated compliance and enforcement, emergency response and community relations teams work with the public, industry and other public safety agencies in order to mitigate risks, prevent incidents, and respond quickly and effectively if something should occur.

Public Complaints and Why They Are Important

Public complaints are an important way in which we initiate both compliance investigations and incident response actions. All items that raise immediate public safety concerns are addressed within one hour, while more routine issues such as dust or weed management are addressed within one working day.

All incidents and complaints related to natural gas and oil activities are recorded and tracked through the BCER’s database. Incidents are classified into one of four categories, reflecting level of risk. We ensure permit holders act promptly and effectively to prevent unnecessary escalation and begin any remediation work required.

Complaints are reported by the public and stakeholders (and may also be reported by industry) and received through the BCER’s 24-hour public telephone number at 1-250-794-5200. Each complaint is addressed individually and, in most cases, inspectors are dispatched to the location to determine the cause of the complaint and assist to resolve the situation. Incidents are reported by industry to the BCER through Emergency Management BC.

How Do We Proactively Regulate?

The BCER has the legislative authority to make decisions on proposed oil and gas activities. While we do not set policy, the diverse expertise and experience of BCER staff provides critical insight at every level of oil and gas development.

This knowledge base provides perspective through scientific evidence, guidance, best practices, reports, tools and analysis.

Companies looking to explore, develop, produce, and market oil and gas resources in B.C. must apply to the BCER. We review, assess and make decisions on these applications. This consolidated single-window authority provides not only a one-stop place for all oil and gas and associated activity requirements, but a consistent application, decision, regulatory and compliance authority. Stakeholders work with one agency; therefore, the BCER serves the public interest by having an all-encompassing review process for oil and gas activities.

Integrity Management Program Compliance Assurance

The Integrity Management Program for pipelines and facilities ensures pipelines and facilities operate safely, and are environmentally responsible through auditing, integrity initiatives, and technical inspections. It specifies the processes and practices used by operators to anticipate hazards, analyze, assess, and manage associated risks. Pipeline and facility permit holders are expected to manage the risks associated with construction, operations and decommissioning for the full life-cycle of pipelines and facilities.

Emergency Response Planning

Preparation and planning are essential when formulating an emergency response plan for any oil and gas activity. Developing an effective safety framework protects those working onsite, as well as neighbours, property, and the environment.

The BCER has adopted an improved structure for Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) that supports public accessibility and collaboration between industry operators. Plans submitted must be prepared in two parts; a Core plan accompanied by a Supplemental(s) plan. Core plans house guidance for operations staff, outlining common emergency management practices and processes, as well as standard company policies applied during any incident response. Confidential material, such as resident or emergency responders' contact information, would reside in the Supplemental portion of a permit holder’s plan.

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