An exploratory license gives a company surface access rights to explore for oil and gas, typically by conducting a seismic program. The standard practice at IOGC is for the company to have a subsurface agreement in order to conduct a seismic program.
Pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act ("CEAA"), there are environmental requirements associated with Exploratory Licenses. Exploratory Licenses are issued pursuant to the Indian Oil and Gas Regulations, 1995 (“Regulations”).
There is a two-step process for all IOGC Exploratory License approvals. The first step is both an IOGC review of the application and a prescription of environmental terms. The second step is IOGC's execution and issuance of the Exploratory License.
The applicant must first gain permission from the First Nation to access lands for preparation of the required environmental assessment and must also address any First Nation concerns, including matters of a cultural or historic nature. The applicant submits to IOGC: completed Part A of the Exploratory License Application; the environmental assessment; the preliminary plan; and an application fee of $25, payable to the Receiver General for Canada.
IOGC attaches the Environmental Protection Terms Letter as Appendix A to the application.
IOGC returns the application to the applicant. Applicant submits the application to the First Nation for their review and approval. It is the applicant's responsibility to fully disclose all terms and conditions of the Exploratory License to the First Nation, including the CEAA terms letter, prior to obtaining the required Band Council Resolution (BCR). The signed BCR constitutes First Nation approval for the project.
The applicant must submit three signed originals of the completed Exploratory License to IOGC for final execution. IOGC will execute the license and forward an original to the applicant.
Once the Exploratory License has been issued, the Licensee is required to notify IOGC and the First Nation within 48 hours of both the commencement and completion of the field work using the Notification of Commencement and Completion of Exploratory Work form.
Pursuant to section six of the Regulations, the Licensee must submit all data obtained from the exploratory program to IOGC and the First Nation within 90 days of completing the exploratory work. The Licensee must also submit additional data to IOGC, pursuant to section nine of the Regulations, under the timelines specified therein.
Compensation is payable to the Receiver General for Canada and is to be submitted to IOGC, which collects the funds on behalf of the First Nation. A $25 administration fee, also payable to the Receiver General for Canada, is charged for each Exploratory License granted. For matters such as crop damage or fence cuts, moneys are paid directly to the First Nation.
Compensation must be submitted to IOGC within 90 days of the recording of the program and is payable to the Receiver General for Canada. Compensation rates are specified in the Exploratory License.
Environmental assessments are required for approval for oil and gas projects on First Nation reserve lands, pursuant to CEAA. Environmental assessments must be submitted by applicants for Exploratory Licenses and are reviewed by IOGC in consultation with the First Nation prior to granting of approval.
Reclamation may be required for seismic areas.
For complete information and procedures regarding environmental requirements, please refer to the Environment section of the Business Cycle.