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The Canadian province of British Columbia and the Blueberry River First Nations have reached an agreement on land, water, and resource stewardship that will resume oil and gas development in the Montney shale formation in northeast B.C.
The agreement ensures Blueberry River members can meaningfully exercise their Treaty 8 rights, and provide stability and predictability for the industry in the region, the government of British Columbia said in a statement on Wednesday.
The agreement is a response to a ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court from June 2021, which found the province had infringed upon Blueberry River’s Treaty 8 rights due to the cumulative impacts of decades of industrial development. The court prohibited the provincial government from authorizing further activities and directed the parties to negotiate a collaborative approach to land management and natural resource development that protects the Nations’ treaty rights.
Through the agreement, B.C. and Blueberry River will bring a more collaborative approach to oil and natural gas development planning and projects. They have agreed to focus disturbance from oil and gas activities wherever possible in areas already developed.
Executives from the oil industry with operations and interests in the Montney shale play welcomed the agreement, saying that it finally provides clarity on oil and gas development in northeast British Columbia.
“As a global energy leader, we look to B.C.’s world-class North Montney basin and LNG Canada as cornerstones of both our global portfolio and B.C.’s important economic and environmental opportunity to deliver the world’s lowest-emission LNG,” said Izwan Ismail, president and CEO at Petronas Energy Canada Ltd.
“The agreement between the British Columbia government and Indigenous communities in northeast B.C. provides much-needed clarity to move forward with natural gas development,” said Tristan Goodman, president and CEO at The Explorers and Producers Association of Canada.
“British Columbia’s clean and responsibly produced natural gas can support Canada’s climate goals and supply the world with lower carbon, reliable and affordable energy.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.