Petroleum Resources Act
The Petroleum Resources Act governs the leasing of GNWT-owned oil and gas rights to companies that wish to find and produce the oil and gas. This includes all GNWT-owned oil and gas rights in the onshore of the NWT, right up to the onshore/offshore boundary negotiated by Canada and the GNWT. It does not include lands retained by the federal government such as waste sites and the Norman Wells Proven Area.
Rights leased to a company under the Petroleum Resources Act will give the company the right to explore, and if successful, to produce oil and gas owned by the GNWT on behalf of the residents of the NWT.
Under the Petroleum Resources Act, oil and gas rights in unexplored areas will be issued after a public call for bids. The Minister may attach conditions to the transfer of rights including conditions for protecting the environment.
The Petroleum Resources Act establishes an environmental studies research fund to pay for environmental and social studies necessary to inform decisions on whether oil and gas exploration or development should be carried out in a particular area. Oil and gas companies exploring in the NWT must make payments into this fund.
The Petroleum Resources Act and Oil and Gas Operations Act each state
that no work or activity on petroleum lands shall be authorized until the Minister has approved, or waived the requirement of approval, of a benefits plan. Finally, the Petroleum Resources Act allows the GNWT to prescribe the royalties that companies must pay to the GNWT once commercial production is achieved.
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment administers the new mirrored Petroleum Resources Act and its three regulations.