How are oil and gas rights administered in the Northwest Territories (NWT)?

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) is responsible for the administration of oil and gas interests in the onshore NWT. Interests issued in the offshore are the responsibility of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).

ITI's Petroleum Resources Division has an Oil and Gas Rights unit staffed with a Manager, a Registrar, and a Rights Administration Advisor.

Did existing Exploration Licences (EL), Significant Discovery Licences (SDL), Production Licences (PL) and Oil and Gas Leases change as a result of devolution?

Existing licences and leases continued under the same terms and conditions that were in effect as of March 31, 2014. Active licences and leases on GNWT lands are administered by ITI.

Some licences and leases (e.g., Norman Wells Proven Area Agreement) and certain waste sites were not transferred to the GNWT. All interest holders were notified by AANDC whether their licence or lease was to be transferring.

SDLs that straddle the line of delimitation between onshore and offshore have been divided. ITI now administers the portion of the SDL that is onshore and AANDC administers the portion of the SDL that is offshore under separate licences. Straddling interest holders were sent notifications by AANDC outlining how their interests would be divided.

How are oil and gas interests in the ISR administered?

The ISR is the only region in the NWT that has oil and gas interests in both the onshore and offshore, which straddle two jurisdictions. ITI has the administrative responsibility for the onshore and AANDC retained administrative responsibility for the offshore.

The GNWT, AANDC and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation have agreed to coordinate and cooperate on their post-devolution jurisdictions in respect of oil and gas resource management in the ISR, particularly where they straddle the onshore and offshore. A Memorandum of Agreement is in place for an initial 20-year term, creating an ISR Oil and Gas Coordination Committee to facilitate information sharing and coordinate straddling resources.

Which GNWT department leads Calls for Nominations and Call for Bids?

ITI leads Calls for Bids in the onshore areas and AANDC continues to administer Calls in the offshore areas. ITI, AANDC and the IRC cooperate and coordinate on rights issuance in the Mackenzie Delta and offshore.

Which GNWT department issues Exploration Licences?

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment issues and manages licences in the onshore area. AANDC issues and manages licences for the offshore areas, including the Beaufort Sea.

What legislation governs oil and gas administration on territorial lands?

The Oil and Gas Operations Act (OGOA) and the Petroleum Resources Act (PRA) and their associated regulations.

Who do I talk to about administration of royalties?

ITI is responsible for the administration of the royalty regime established under the Petroleum Resources Act, through its Financial Analysis and Royalties Administration Division.

Who do I talk to about policy development?

ITI is responsible for developing programs, policies and strategies to support the development of the NWT’s petroleum resources, through the Petroleum Resources Division.