Managing the development of oil and gas resources for Canada's federal lands in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and northern offshore is a federal responsibility. The Northern Oil and Gas Branch of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is charged with this responsibility.
This management of the oil and gas resources is done in a manner that balances the northern and national interests in the context of Aboriginal land claims, promotes investment in the sustainable development of northern resources, and provides related information and advice. Above all, the department is committed to using resource development to uplift the skills of northerners and strengthen the economic base of northern communities.
Petroleum resource management on Canada's federal lands North of 60 degrees is exercised under two federal statutes: the Canada Petroleum Resources Act (CPRA) and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA).
Other legislation concerning land use and environmental protection are fundamental to the sustainable development of oil and gas resources in the North. These aspects are managed by independent Boards set up pursuant to land claim agreements and (where these authorities are maintained) by the regional divisions of INAC in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
The Northern Oil and Gas Branch is responsible for the issuance and management of Exploration Licences, Significant Discovery Licences and Production Licences in the in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the northern offshore. The rights are issued pursuant to the Canada Petroleum Resources Act.
In addition to the issuance and management of licences the Branch is responsible for maintaining a Public Registry of the oil and gas rights. This registry includes current and historic data associated with dispositions. Throughout the rights management process we work with other resource management partners to address environmental and social concerns associated with oil and gas rights management.
In accordance with the provisions of comprehensive land claim settlement agreements, the Department seeks the views and support of Aboriginal communities and organizations prior to rights issuance on the terms and conditions of the issuance and related matters. The Department is also working toward the departmental mandate of establishing measures that would meet the needs and provide economic opportunities for those areas without a land claim settlement, primarily in the southern Northwest Territories.
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