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O. Reg. 263/02: EXPLORATION LICENCES, PRODUCTION AND STORAGE LEASES FOR OIL AND GAS IN ONTARIO

under Mining Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.14

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Mining Act
Loi sur les mines

ONTARIO REGULATION 263/02

Exploration licences, production and storage leases for oil and gas in ontario

Consolidation Period: From August 30, 2016 to the e-Laws currency date.

Last amendment: O. Reg. 301/16.

This Regulation is made in English only.

Definitions

Definitions

1. In this Regulation,

“gas” means a mixture containing hydrocarbons that is located in or recovered from an underground reservoir and that is gaseous at the temperature and pressure under which its volume is measured or estimated;

“oil” means a mixture containing hydrocarbons that is located in or recovered from an underground reservoir, or recovered in processing, and that is liquid at the temperature and pressure under which its volume is measured or estimated;

“Plan 1495” means Plan 1495 filed in the Archives of Ontario at Toronto;

“tract” and “block” have the same meanings as they have with respect to Crown land descriptions as shown on Plan 1495.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 1.

Exploration Licences

Application for exploration licence

2. (1) A person who wishes to explore for oil or gas, or both, on Crown lands may submit an application for an exploration licence to the Minister. O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

(2) An application under this section shall be in the form provided by the Minister and shall include a description of the Crown lands that are subject to the licence. O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

(3) An applicant for an exploration licence shall pay an application fee. O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

(4) The Minister may consider applications received during the following quarterly periods of each year at the end of each quarter:

1. January 1 to March 31.

2. April 1 to June 30.

3. July 1 to September 30.

4. October 1 to December 31. O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

Tendering process for exploration licences

3. (1) The Minister may, at any time, offer for sale by tender an exploration licence authorizing the licensee to explore for oil or gas, or both, on the Crown lands that are specified by the Minister in the offer. O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

(2) Upon offering an exploration licence for sale by tender, the Minister may, if an application for an exploration licence is or has been submitted under section 2 in respect of all or a portion of the Crown lands specified in the Minister’s offer,

(a) return the application to the applicant; and

(b) advise the applicant in writing that the applicant may submit a tender in response to the Minister’s offer in accordance with the procedures and requirements specified in the offer. O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

4. Revoked: O. Reg. 301/16, s. 1.

Term of licence

5. (1) A licence shall be for a term of not more than five years and the anniversary date of every licence shall be deemed to be January 1 in each year.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 5 (1).

(2) The Minister may extend the term of a licence for a period not exceeding 12 months if weather, water or other conditions prevent the licensee from carrying out exploration or drilling during the final year of the term of the licence and the licensee applies in writing to the Minister for the extension at least 30 days prior to its expiration and pays the required fee for an extension.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 5 (2).

(3) Any extension granted under subsection (2) is considered part of the final year of the term of the licence.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 5 (3).

Description of area

6. (1) A licence shall describe the area covered by the licence by tract and block or, if no registered grid system applies to the area, by description prepared under the instructions of the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 6 (1).

(2) The minimum size of the area for a licence covering an area shown on Plan 1495 shall be one tract and the maximum size shall be one block.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 6 (2).

(3) If an area to be covered by a licence is an area not shown on Plan 1495, the Minister shall specify the minimum and maximum size of the area to be covered by a licence on application or tendering.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 6 (3).

Rental

7. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a licensee shall pay in advance the annual rental for a licence set out in the Schedule and, for the purpose of calculating the rental payable, one tract is equal to 255 hectares.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 7 (1).

(2) If the first year of the term of a licence is less than 12 months, the rental for the first year shall be determined on a proportionate basis.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 7 (2).

Surrender of licence

8. (1) A licensee may, with the Minister’s consent, surrender a licence in whole or in part at any time upon giving written notice to the Minister at least 30 days before the surrender is proposed to take effect and paying the required fee for a surrender.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 8 (1).

(2) If a surrender is accepted, the annual rental for the year of the term in which the surrender is made shall be that required for the area described in the licence immediately before the surrender, but the annual rental for any subsequent year or years of the term shall be based on the remaining area described in the revised licence.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 8 (2).

Reduction in rental

9. The Minister may reduce the rental payable for a licence in any year in which the licensee is prevented from carrying out exploration or drilling if a public authority having jurisdiction in the area in which the licensee was carrying out exploration or drilling directs the licensee to suspend the exploration or drilling or if weather, water or other conditions prevent the exploration or drilling from being carried out.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 9.

Production Leases

Requirements for production lease

10. (1) A licensee who applies to the Minister for a lease shall be granted a lease for an area that formed all or part of the area described in the licence if the licensee demonstrates to the Minister’s satisfaction that the area to be covered by the lease contains economically producible oil or gas.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 10 (1).

(2) If the Minister is not satisfied that the licensee has demonstrated that the area to be covered in the lease contains economically producible oil or gas, the Minister may,

(a) amend the application with respect to the area applied for and grant the lease; or

(b) refuse to grant the lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 10 (2).

(3) If the Minister offers for sale by tender the right to obtain a licence, the Minister may grant a lease to the successful purchaser of that right without first issuing a licence, or if no tender for the right to obtain a licence is made, the Minister may issue a lease directly to the applicant.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 10 (3).

(4) The area to be covered by a lease shall conform to the size requirements of subsection 6 (2) or (3).  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 10 (4).

(5) An application for a lease shall be accompanied by,

(a) a description of the area,

(i) by tract and block described by Plan 1495,

(ii) if any registered grid system is subsequently established on the area, in accordance with that grid system, or

(iii) if the area is not described by a registered grid system, by a Crown land reference plan prepared in accordance with the instructions of the Minister or any other description approved by the Minister;

(b) a summary of the technical data supporting and quantifying the discovery of economically producible oil or gas;

(c) the rent for the first year of the term of the lease; and

(d) the application fee.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 10 (5).

Term of lease

11. (1) A lease shall be for a term of not more than 10 years and the anniversary date of every lease shall be deemed to be January 1 in each year.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 11 (1).

(2) If oil or gas is produced under a lease and production continues beyond the term of the lease, the Minister shall renew the lease, for successive periods of not more than 10 years, with respect to those areas covered by the lease that remain productive.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 11 (2).

Surrender of lease

12. (1) A lessee may, with the Minister’s consent, surrender a lease in whole or in part at any time upon giving written notice to the Minister at least 30 days before the surrender is proposed to take effect.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 12 (1).

(2) If a surrender is accepted under subsection (1), the annual rental for the year of the term in which the surrender is made shall be that required for the area described in the lease immediately before the surrender, but the annual rental for any subsequent year or years of the term shall be based on the remaining area described in the revised lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 12 (2).

Rental

13. (1) A lessee shall pay in advance the annual rental for a lease set out in the Schedule.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 13 (1).

(2) If the first year of the term of a lease is less than 12 months, the rental for the first year shall be determined on a proportionate basis.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 13 (2).

Royalty payments

14. (1) A lessee shall pay a royalty, at the royalty rate set out in the Schedule, on the oil and gas produced from the area covered by the lease based on the full sale price of the oil or gas received by the lessee at the point at which the lessee transfers custody of the oil or gas to the purchaser, without any deduction for any of the lessee’s or purchaser’s costs.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 14 (1).

(2) Despite subsection (1), no royalty is payable in respect of any gas produced from the area covered by the lease that the lessee reasonably required and used as fuel for the production of oil or gas from the area.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 14 (2).

(3) The royalty on oil or gas produced in a month is payable on or before the end of the month following the month in which the oil or gas is produced, unless otherwise directed by the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 14 (3).

(4) On making a royalty payment, the lessee shall submit evidence of the volume and full sale price of the oil or gas to which the royalty payment relates.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 14 (4).

(5) The Minister may recalculate any royalty payment if the Minister determines that the volume of oil or gas or the full sale price of the oil or gas is not accurate or the full sale price does not reflect the fair market value of the oil or gas, in which case the lessee shall pay the royalty calculated by the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 14 (5).

Unitization agreements

15. (1) In this section,

“pool” means an underground accumulation of oil or gas or both, separated or appearing to be separated from any other underground accumulation;

“spacing unit” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act;

“unitization agreement” means an agreement providing for the combining of separately owned oil or gas interests in a pool, formation or field to permit the efficient and economical drilling for or production of oil, gas or other unitized substances.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 15 (1).

(2) If the Crown’s interest in oil or gas is within a spacing unit and all of the interests in the oil and gas in the spacing unit are combined under a pooling agreement, the Crown’s percentage share of the production of oil or gas from the spacing unit is,

(a) the Crown’s percentage share as set out in the agreement; or

(b) equal to the percentage share by area of the Crown’s interest in the oil and gas in the spacing unit in any other case.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 15 (2).

(3) If the Crown’s interest in oil or gas relates to land that is subject to a unitization agreement, the Crown’s percentage share of the production of oil or gas from the land is as set out in the unitization agreement.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 15 (3).

(4) When the Crown’s percentage share of the production of oil or gas has been determined under subsection (2) or (3), the royalty payable to the Crown shall be calculated in accordance with section 14.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 15 (4).

Storage Leases

Granting storage leases

16. (1) The Minister may grant a storage lease to store substances listed in subsection (4) in underground geological formations located on Crown lands.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (1).

(2) The Minister may offer for sale by tender the right to obtain a storage lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (2).

(3) Where the right to obtain a storage lease for the purposes of storing natural gas is offered for sale by tender under subsection (2), the tender bid shall consist of,

(a) a cash bonus for the right to obtain the storage lease;

(b) the storage rental, in dollars per 1000 cubic metres of the working storage volume per month, that the applicant proposes to pay the Crown during the first and subsequent terms of the lease;

(c) the proposed operating parameters and method used in calculating the working storage volume; and

(d) the method of calculation of and the compensation in dollars for the remaining gas in place.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (3).

(4) Where the right to obtain a storage lease for the purposes of storing substances other than natural gas is offered for sale by tender under subsection (2), the tender bid shall consist of a cash bonus bid.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (4).

(5) The Minister may set a minimum bonus bid and storage rental for the tender.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (5).

(6) The Minister may cancel the tender at any time for any reason the Minister considers expedient, including,

(a) that the tender is no longer in the public interest; and

(b) that no bid is acceptable, even a bid that meets any minimum set by the Minister under subsection (5).  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (6).

(7) Subject to subsections (8) and (9), a storage lease shall specify the substances that may be stored and the geological formations that may be used for storage.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (7).

(8) The following substances may be stored under a storage lease:

1. Natural gas.

2. Crude oil.

3. Diesel.

4. Methane.

5. Ethane.

6. Propane.

7. Butane.

8. Other hydrocarbons by themselves or in mixtures.

9. Air.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (8).

(9) Temporary or permanent disposal of any substance, except oil field fluid as defined in the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, within an underground formation subject to a storage lease is prohibited.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 16 (9).

Description of area

17. (1) A storage lease shall describe the area covered by the lease by tract and block or, if no registered grid system applies to the area, by description prepared under the instructions of the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 17 (1).

(2) The minimum size of the area for a storage lease covering an area shown on Plan 1495 shall be one tract and the maximum size shall be one block.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 17 (2).

(3) If an area to be covered by a licence is an area not shown on Plan 1495, the Minister shall specify the minimum and maximum size of the area to be covered by a storage lease on application or tendering.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 17 (3).

Application for lease

18. An application for a storage lease shall be accompanied by,

(a) a description of the area,

(i) by tract and block described by Plan 1495,

(ii) if any registered grid system is subsequently established on the area, in accordance with that grid system, or

(iii) if the area is not described by a registered grid system, by a Crown land reference plan prepared in accordance with the instructions of the Minister or any other description approved by the Minister; and

(b) a geological description of the storage zone and the chemical description of the substance to be stored.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 18.

Term of lease

19. (1) A lease shall be for a term of not more than 10 years and the anniversary date of every lease shall be deemed to be January 1 in each year.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 19 (1).

(2) If storage operations are to continue beyond the term of the storage lease, the Minister shall renew the lease, for successive periods of not more than 10 years, with respect to those areas covered by the lease still being used for storage.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 19 (2).

Surrender of lease

20. (1) A lessee may, with the Minister’s consent, surrender a lease in whole or in part at any time upon giving written notice to the Minister at least 30 days before the surrender is proposed to take effect.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 20 (1).

(2) If a surrender is accepted under subsection (1), the rental for the month of the term in which the surrender is made shall be that required for the area described in the lease immediately before the surrender, but the rental for any subsequent month of the term shall be based on the rental required for the remaining area described in the revised lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 20 (2).

Storage rental for natural gas storage

21. (1) In this section,

“cushion gas” means the volume of gas required as permanent storage inventory to maintain adequate reservoir pressure for meeting minimum gas deliverability demands;

“working storage volume” means the volume capacity of the storage zone respecting the substance being stored but cushion gas is excluded in calculating the volume.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 21 (1).

(2) A lessee shall determine and submit the working storage and cushion gas volumes and the method of determination to the Minister prior to commencement of storage operations and maintain an accurate inventory of the substance that is stored within the area described in the storage lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 21 (2).

(3) The lessee shall pay the storage rental specified in the Schedule monthly and payment shall be made no later than the end of the month following the month in which the storage rental is owed, unless otherwise directed by the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 21 (3).

(4) If the first month in the term of a lease is less than a full month, the rental for the first month shall be determined on a proportionate basis.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 21 (4).

(5) The Minister may recalculate any storage rental payment if the Minister determines that the working storage or cushion gas volume is not accurate, in which case the lessee shall pay the storage rental as calculated by the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 21 (5).

(6) If the Crown’s interest in storage is a portion of a designated storage area or pool, the Crown’s percentage share is the Crown’s percentage share of the total working storage volume of the storage zone, and the storage rental shall be paid on this basis in accordance with this section.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 21 (6).

Storage rental for non natural gas storage

22. (1) In this section,

“storage capacity” means the maximum volume of the storage zone.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 22 (1).

(2) The lessee shall pay the storage rental specified in the Schedule monthly and payment shall be made no later than the end of the month following the month in which the storage rental is owed, unless otherwise directed by the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 22 (2).

(3) If the first month in the term of a lease is less than a full month, the rental for the first month shall be determined on a proportionate basis.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 22 (3).

(4) On making a storage rental payment, the lessee shall submit evidence of the storage capacity to which the storage rental relates.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 22 (4).

(5) The Minister may recalculate any storage rental payment if the Minister determines that the storage capacity is not accurate, in which case the lessee shall pay the storage rental calculated by the Minister.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 22 (5).

(6) If the Crown’s interest in storage is a portion of a designated storage area or pool, the Crown’s percentage share is the Crown’s percentage share of the total working storage volume of the storage zone, and the storage rental shall be paid on this basis in accordance with this section.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 22 (6).

General

Well licences

23. (1) Despite any rights granted or implied in an exploration licence, production lease or storage lease, but subject to section 40 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, the Minister may issue a well licence under the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act for a deviated or horizontal well that will traverse the area described in a exploration licence, production lease or storage lease to a person other than the licensee or lessee if,

(a) the proposed well is necessary to reach an oil and gas target or storage zone located on licensed or leased lands held by the person;

(b) the affected lands have been unitized in a manner acceptable to the Minister;

(c) in the opinion of the Minister, the proposed well will not interfere with or adversely affect existing exploration, production or storage operations; and

(d) the well is in the public interest.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (1).

(2) If a gas lease has previously been granted and the gas lessee acquires oil lease rights for the whole or part of the area described in the gas lease, the Minister shall cancel or amend the gas lease in whole or in part and issue an oil and gas lease in its place for the area where both oil and gas lease rights are held by the same lessee.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (2).

(3) Despite any rights granted under a licence or lease, drilling for oil or storing oil or other liquid hydro-carbon by means of a well having a surface location in a water-covered area and production of oil from a well in such locations is prohibited.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (3).

(4) A licensee or lessee who encounters oil while drilling in a water-covered area shall plug all wells capable of producing oil in accordance with the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act and surrender the licence or lease with respect to the area that has been proven to reasonably contain oil.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (4).

(5) Subsections (3) and (4) do not apply to horizontal or directional wells drilled from land based locations.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (5).

(6) Despite subsection (4), a licensee or lessee who surrenders a water-covered area in the circumstances described in that subsection may, with the Minister’s consent, retain the area and any wells drilled into the area for the purpose of producing or storing gas at a shallower or deeper depth than that at which oil was discovered on condition that the oil bearing zone has either been plugged or completely isolated by casing and cement in all wells that encountered oil.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (6).

(7) The licensee or lessee shall pay the fees, rental, royalty or storage rental set out in the Schedule.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 23 (7).

Obligations of licensee or lessee

24. A licensee or lessee shall carry out all exploration, drilling, production and storage operations in accordance with,

(a) the Act and this Regulation;

(b) the terms and conditions of the licence or lease;

(c) the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 or the regulations made under them; and

(d) any order of the Ontario Energy Board or of the Mining and Lands Commissioner.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 24.

Transfer of licences and leases

25. On paying the required fee, a licensee or lessee may, with the Minister’s consent, transfer or assign to any other person the rights conferred under the licence or lease, as the case may be, with respect to the whole or any part of the area covered by the licence or lease, on condition that the licensee or lessee does not retain any interest in the area or part of an area transferred or assigned.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 25.

Termination of licences and leases

26. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), the Minister may forthwith cancel a licence or terminate a lease without liability and without compensation to the licensee or lessee, as the case may be, if the licensee or lessee fails to,

(a) comply with the terms and conditions of the licence or lease;

(b) comply with the Act and this Regulation, the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act, the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 or the regulations made under them;

(c) comply with an order of the Ontario Energy Board or the Mining and Lands Commissioner;

(d) make a rental, royalty or storage rental payment as required by this Regulation;

(e) produce oil or gas under a lease on or before the fifth anniversary of the lease or during any five-year period during the term or terms of the production lease;

(f) commence storage operations on or before the fifth anniversary of the storage lease; or

(g) conduct storage operations for any five-year period during the term or terms of the storage lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 26 (1).

(2) The Minister may not cancel a licence or terminate a lease under subsection (1) unless he or she delivers or sends by registered mail to the licensee or lessee at the licensee’s or lessee’s last address on record with the Ministry a notice setting out the default and requiring that it be remedied.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 26 (2).

(3) If the licensee or lessee remedies the default within the time specified in the notice, the Minister shall not cancel the licence or terminate the lease.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 26 (3).

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2), a notice of failure to comply sent by registered mail shall be deemed to have been received on the fifth day after the date of mailing unless the contrary is shown.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 26 (4).

(5) If a licence or lease has been cancelled, the Minister may cancel, in whole or in part, any or all other licences or leases held by the licensee or lessee if, in the Minister’s opinion, the licensee or lessee is unable to satisfactorily develop the area or areas covered by those licences or leases because the licensee or lessee is financially insolvent or because the licensee or lessee is unable to meet the requirements of the Act, this Regulation, the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act or the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 or the regulations made under them.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 26 (5).

Cadastral surveys

27. The Minister may require that a licensee or lessee make and file a cadastral survey at the licensee’s or lessee’s expense that is satisfactory to the Minister with respect to the position of any boundary that is uncertain or becomes the subject of a dispute.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 27.

Audit

28. The Minister may require that a licensee or lessee submit an audit, prepared by an independent auditor satisfactory to the Minister at the licensee’s or lessee’s expense, of the records, measurements, calculations and any other records of the licensee or lessee that pertain to the determination and calculation of,

(a) oil and gas exploration licence rents;

(b) oil and gas production lease rents;

(c) oil and gas production lease royalties; or

(d) storage lease rents.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 28.

Reduction in rental

29. The Minister may reduce the rental payable for a lease in any year in which the lessee is prevented from carrying out drilling, production or storage operations if a public authority having jurisdiction in the area in which the lessee was carrying out drilling, production or storage operations directs the licensee to suspend the drilling, production or storage operation or if weather, water or other conditions prevent the drilling, production or storage operation from being carried out.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 29.

Transition

Transition

30. Licences issued and leases granted under a predecessor of this Regulation shall be deemed to have been issued or granted under this Regulation and to be subject to the conditions and requirements of this Regulation.  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 30.

31. Omitted (revokes other Regulations).  O. Reg. 263/02, s. 31.

Schedule

Exploration licence rental

1. The annual rental for an exploration licence is the greater of $100 and,

(a) $0.60 per hectare in the first year of the term of the licence;

(b) $1.20 per hectare in the second year of the term of the licence;

(c) $1.80 per hectare in the third year of the term of the licence;

(d) $2.40 per hectare in the fourth year of the term of the licence; and

(e) $3 per hectare in the fifth year of the term of the licence.

Production lease rental

2. The annual rental for a production lease is the greater of $100 and $2.50 per hectare.

Oil and gas production royalty rate

3. The royalty rate for oil and gas produced from Crown land is 12.5 per cent.

Natural gas storage lease rental

4. The monthly storage rental for a storage lease is the greater of $100 and,

(a) $1 per hectare prior to the commencement of storage operations; and

(b) the storage rental submitted with the tender bid after the commencement of storage operations; and

(c) where no tender for the storage right was conducted, $0.30 per 1000 cubic metres of working storage volume.

Storage for hydrocarbon substances other than natural gas

5. The storage rental for storage leases where substances other than natural gas are stored is $100 per 1000 cubic metres of storage capacity per month.

Storage rental for air

6. The storage rental for storage leases where air is stored is $10 per 1000 cubic metres of storage capacity, per month.

O. Reg. 263/02, Sched.