Scrap subsidies to oil and gas companies and enforce tight timeline to eliminate industry's unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, new report urges province

September 25, 2007

(Vancouver) Efforts to cut BC's
greenhouse gas emissions will fail unless the province ends subsidies
to oil and gas companies, raises the royalties those companies pay and
imposes tough regulations that end wasteful industry practices, a new
study concludes.

Foot Off the Gas: Regulating BC's Oil and Gas Industry as if the Environment Mattered
is being released on the eve of a much-anticipated climate change
announcement by Premier Gordon Campbell. The Canadian Centre for Policy
Alternatives study finds that avoidable industry practices such as gas
flaring are responsible for 13.5% of BC's greenhouse gas emissions. The
study also finds that the province has a hand in those emissions by
unnecessarily subsidizing the industry to the tune of $200 million per

"BC's goal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by one third
by 2020 is laudable. But, unfortunately, government subsidies to oil
and gas companies mean industry emissions are increasing," says CCPA
resource policy analyst, Ben Parfitt. His study recommends that BC:

  • Order an end to destructive oil and gas company practices such as gas flaring.
  • End industry subsidies, which are unnecessary given rising fossil fuel prices.
  • Cap the amount of natural gas pulled from the ground.
  • Institute a carbon tax to encourage companies to be more CO2 neutral.
  • Raise
    gas royalties (as has recently been proposed in Alberta) and require
    companies to pay royalties on all flared and otherwise wasted natural

The report finds that in addition to substantially reducing
greenhouse gas emissions, the recommendations would increase the
shelf-life of a non-renewable resource, which benefits the environment
and communities alike.

"One of the ironies in BC is that we have
had vigorous debate about how to manage renewable natural resources
such as trees, but no corresponding discussion about how we manage
non-renewable resources such as our oil and gas deposits," Parfitt says.

present, the amount of gas that is flared (burned off rather than
channeled into pipelines) equals 15 per cent of BC's marketable natural
gas production. The value of the wasted gas is equivalent to more than
$200 million in royalty payments per year. The study recommends that as
gas is saved through an end to flaring, that overall production rates
be reduced correspondingly. "That way, everyone wins. Gas companies
have more gas to process and sell. Royalty payments to government are
stretched out. Communities have more job security. And there are fewer
greenhouse gas emissions," Parfitt says.

Foot Off the Gas: Regulating BC's Oil and Gas Industry as if the Environment Mattered is available at


To arrange an interview call Terra Poirier at 604-801-5121 x229.