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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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Government Regulation

The petroleum industry is regulated by all levels of government. At the federal level the National Energy Board (NEB) operates as an independent agency that regulates several areas of Canada’s energy industry. The NEB was set up by Parliament in 1959 with the purpose of protecting the public’s interest, by setting safety standards, regulating pipelines, energy development, environmental protection, and trade. The National Energy Board plays an important role in regulating inter-provincial and international pipelines, power lines, as well as import and export of all forms of energy. All of these areas of activity are parts of the federal government’s responsibilities.

Each province has its own responsibilities in regulating the energy sector and this is achieved through their own boards. Each one of these provincial regulatory boards has its own cooperative agreements with their federal counterpart. For example, there is a Pipeline Incident Response Memorandum of Understanding between the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) and the National Energy Board. This agreement has been written to ensure a cooperative response between the federal government and the province of Alberta in cases where an incident may occur to a pipeline in Alberta. Another agreement between the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines and the NEB has brought about a single database that records what the oil and gas reserves are in British Columbia. In another case, the Oil and Gas Administrators Advisory Council is made up of representatives of the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and NEB. This group works together on issues arising from oil and gas exploration and production in their regions.

The various boards across Canada act to set policies, regulations, and assist in establishing laws that are aimed at providing solutions for issues that may have arisen. They also provide information needed by bureaucrats and the public that assists them with interpreting or applying the laws and regulations.

These boards at times have to deal with contentious issues, like the National Energy Program of the 1980s, and in more recent years, the Kyoto Accord and deregulation.


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