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Changes to geothermal permitting to streamline process in BC, Canada

Harbor with parliament in the background, Victoria, BC/ Canada (source: flickr/anneh632, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 25 Aug 2020

Following changes to the Geothermal Resources Act in BC, Canada, applicants for geothermal permits no longer need to make a separate application for land access and cutting licenses on Crown land.

On July 14, 2020 a number of Land Act and Forest Act delegations related to permitting geothermal activities were provided by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD) in British Columbia (BC), Canada to the BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission). As a result, applicants no longer need to make a separate application for land access and cutting licenses on Crown land.

This change to the application process will increase efficiency and streamline the geothermal permitting process, along with adjustments made to the Geothermal Resources Act (GRA) in 2017 that further enhanced the Commission’s regulatory oversight of geothermal exploration and development activities in British Columbia

The GRA authorizes the Commission’s Board of Directors to make regulations governing geothermal operations. The Geothermal Operations Regulation, under the GRA, outlines how the Commission manages geothermal wells.

To be able to drill a geothermal well, a company must acquire the right to the geothermal resource from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and a permit to drill the well from the Commission. The company can now come to the Commission to obtain Crown land access and cutting licenses, thus consolidating the regulatory process.

Source: BC Oil & Gas Commission