ACTS OF 2001
1 This Act may be cited as the Underground Hydrocarbons Storage Act. 2001, c. 37, s. 1.
(l) "storage reservoir" means space or spaces in geological formations, whether occurring naturally or otherwise, that may be used for the storage of hydrocarbons, but does not include underground tanks for the storage of fuels. 2001, c. 37, s. 2.
(2) An area for a hydrocarbon storage-area licence or hydrocarbon storage-area lease shall be described by reference to mining tracts and claims as provided in the Mineral Resources Act. 2001, c. 37, s. 5.
(2) Before the Minister proceeds with an application pursuant to subsection (1), the applicant shall provide the Minister with a written statement from the Minister of Natural Resources approving the use of the geological formation for the development of a storage reservoir.
11 A hydrocarbon storage-area licence gives the holder an exclusive right to conduct those activities required by the regulations or the licence to evaluate the potential for underground storage use of the lands covered by the licence. 2001, c. 37, s. 11.
(3) The holder of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence or a person acting under the authority of the holder or the licence shall not undertake or perform any geophysical or geochemical work, diamond or other drilling, trenching or stripping of overburden on lands in respect of which a licence has been granted under the Mineral Resources Act or an agreement has been granted under the Petroleum Resources Act without the consent of the right holder of the licence or agreement.
(4) All drilling and geophysical work on the lands covered by the hydrocarbon storage-area licence shall be conducted under the authority of a drilling or geophysical permit or as prescribed under the authority of the Petroleum Resources Act and regulations. 2001, c. 37, s. 12.
(3) The Minister, after hearing the parties, may grant a surface rights permit subject to such terms and conditions as the Minister determines, and determine the amount of any compensation to be paid to such owner or occupier and the manner and time of payment of the same.
(5) The Minister may order the applicant for a surface-rights permit to give security for payment of the compensation and may prohibit, pending the determination of the proceeding or until the compensation is paid or secured, further passage over, entry upon or work by the holder of the hydrocarbon storage-area licence, the holder's legal representative or any person acting on behalf of the holder.
(6) Where there are several owners or occupiers of the lands sought to be entered upon or passed over and there are, in the opinion of the Minister, special difficulties in effecting service of any notice pursuant to this Section, the Minister may order substituted service in such manner as the Minister may determine.
(7) There is no appeal from the granting by the Minister of a surface rights permit, from the Minister's determination as to the amount of compensation, from any order for security or from any order or decision or ruling in respect thereto.
(8) Where a person is delayed in the performance of work on the land covered by the hydrocarbon storage-area licence by refusal of the owner or occupier to permit the person to pass over, enter upon or work the lands and the Minister has granted the person a surface rights permit pursuant to this Section, the time within which the person is required to perform work under the licence shall be extended by a period equal to the delay resulting from the refusal of the owner or occupier to permit the person to pass over, enter upon and work the land.
(9) A surface rights permit granted pursuant to this Section is a decision made by the Minister and may be made a rule or order of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in the same manner as provided in the Mineral Resources Act. 2001, c. 37, s. 13.
(3) The holder of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence shall satisfy the Minister that the holder has complied with subsection (1) by submitting a report and statement of expenditures as prescribed in the regulations or directed by the Minister.
16 (1) Where the Minister is satisfied by a holder of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence that a storage area included in an application under Section 15 may be suitable for the storage of hydrocarbons, the Minister may grant a hydrocarbon storage-area lease to the person applying.
(5) A hydrocarbon storage-area lease shall be for a maximum term of twenty years, renewable for further maximum periods of twenty years, for such consideration and subject to such terms and conditions as the Minister may determine.
(6) Where at any time during the hydrocarbon storage-area lease, the holder of the lease or a person acting on behalf of the holder fails to develop or ceases to operate a storage reservoir, the Minister may give notice to the holder of the lease to commence, within one year of the date of the notice, the work necessary to establish the existence of a storage reservoir or to operate a storage reservoir.
(8) Upon the cancellation of a hydrocarbon storage-area lease pursuant to subsection (7), the former holder of the lease has thirty days from the date the lease was cancelled to apply for a hydrocarbon storage-area licence during which time no other application for the area shall be accepted. 2001, c. 37, s. 16.
17 (1) Whenever a lessee requires land, or a right or interest in land, for a storage area or any purpose connected with or incidental to a storage area and no agreement can be made for the acquisition thereof, or a right-of-way or easement in respect to the land, the lessee may present an application to the Minister stating that
(b) the lessee requires certain land or some right or interest therein, of which a plan and description is attached, for one or more of the above purposes in connection with the area covered by the hydrocarbon storage-area lease;
(c) the person named is the owner of the land, and the lessee is willing to make an arrangement with the owner for the acquisition of the land, right or interest, stating the nature of the proposed agreement and the price that the lessee is willing to pay, but the owner is unwilling to accept; and
(4) A vesting order issued by the Minister shall be filed at the registry of deeds for the registration district in which the land to which the order relates is situate and the filing thereof is deemed to be a deposit of expropriation documents pursuant to the Expropriation Act.
(5) Upon the filing of a vesting order by the Minister, the lessee named in the order is and is deemed to be the expropriating authority within the meaning of the Expropriation Act. 2001, c. 37, s. 17.
19 (1) Where property is damaged by any activity undertaken pursuant to a hydrocarbon storage-area lease granted under this Act, the owner of the property has a right to receive compensation from the holder of the lease.
(2) Any question as to whether property is damaged by the storage of hydrocarbons pursuant to a lease granted under this Act or as to the amount of compensation shall be determined by arbitration and the Arbitration Act applies. 2001, c. 37, s. 19.
(2) The assignee of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence or hydrocarbon storage-area lease is subject to the duties, obligations and liabilities of the original holder and any further duties, obligations and liabilities that may be imposed by the Minister, and the assignor is relieved of the duties, obligations and liabilities under the licence or lease.
24 (1) The Minister may prepare or adopt a code of practice respecting public safety and the design, construction, operation and abandonment of hydrocarbon storage in underground formations and associated equipment.
(2) The Minister or the Board may incorporate by reference any codes of practice, guidelines or standards respecting hydrocarbon storage in underground formations in any hydrocarbon storage-area licence, hydrocarbon storage-area lease or approval given under this Act. 2001, c. 37, s. 24.
25 (1) A person who holds a hydrocarbon storage-area licence, hydrocarbon storage-area lease or approval given under this Act shall make such reports and returns as the Minister or the Board requires.
(2) Where the person fails to make a report or return requested under subsection (1), the Minister or the Board, as the case may be, may suspend or cancel the hydrocarbon storage-area licence, hydrocarbon storage-area lease or approval given by the Minister or the Board. 2001, c. 37, s. 25.
26 (1) Where the Minister believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person has contravened, or will contravene, any part of this Act or the regulations or any term or condition of any hydrocarbon storage-area licence or hydrocarbon storage-area lease, the Minister may, whether or not the person has been charged or convicted in respect of the contravention, issue an order requiring the person to cease the specified activity.
(5) Where an order is served on a person to whom it is directed, that person shall comply with the order forthwith or, where a period for compliance is specified in the order, within the time period specified.
(6) Where the person to whom an order is directed does not comply with the order or a part of the order, the Minister or the Board, as the case may be, may take whatever action the Minister or the Board considers necessary to carry out the terms of the order.
27 (1) Where the Minister believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person has contravened or will contravene this Act or the regulations or a term or condition of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence or hydrocarbon storage-area lease, the Minister may cancel or suspend the licence or lease.
(3) The Minister or the Board, as the case may be, shall forthwith on cancellation or suspension of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence, hydrocarbon storage-area lease or approval give notice, in writing, together with reasons for the cancellation or suspension to the holder of the licence, lease or approval. 2001, c. 37, s. 27.
(2) An inspector, in carrying out duties pursuant to this Act, has and may exercise in any part of the Province all the powers, authorities and immunities of a peace officer as defined in the Criminal Code (Canada).
(3) The holder of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence, hydrocarbon storage-area lease or approval shall forthwith, on request, permit an inspector to carry out an inspection of any place, other than a dwelling place, to which the licence, lease or approval relates.
(4) The holder of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence, hydrocarbon storage-area lease or approval or the owner or occupier of any place in respect of which an inspector is exercising powers or carrying out duties pursuant to this Section shall
29 Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no action for damages may be commenced or maintained and no cause of action lies against the Minister, a person designated by the Minister, the Board or any member of the Board or an employee or agent acting under the direction of the Minister or the Board, including an inspector, or member of an advisory committee or expert, if the action arises out of any act or omission of that person that occurs while that person is carrying out duties or exercising powers pursuant to this Act in good faith and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, no person referred to in this Section is liable for damages caused by a system of inspection or the manner in which inspections are to be performed or the frequency, infrequence or absence of inspections. 2001, c. 37, s. 29.
31 (1) A person who is guilty of an offence under this Act or the regulations is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than one million dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or to both.
(2) Where an offence under this Act or the regulations is committed or continued on more than one day, the person who committed the offence is liable to be convicted for a separate offence for each day on which the offence is committed.
(3) Where a corporation is guilty of an offence under this Act or the regulations, an officer, director or agent of the corporation who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence is a party to and guilty of the offence and is liable to the penalties provided for in this Section.
(4) In a prosecution for an offence under this Act or the regulations, it is sufficient proof of the offence to establish that it was committed by an employee or agent of the accused, whether or not the employee or agent is identified or has been prosecuted for the offence, unless the accused establishes that the offence was committed without the knowledge or consent of the accused.
(2) A person who holds a valid permit under the Gas Storage Exploration Act on the coming into force of this Act is deemed to hold a hydrocarbon storage-area licence under this Act. 2001, c. 37, s. 32.
(a) respecting the information required on an application for a hydrocarbon storage-area licence or hydrocarbon storage-area lease, or an application for an amendment, transfer or assignment of a licence or lease;
(k) respecting requests for a vesting order under Section 17, the matters and things necessary to satisfy the Minister that lands required by a holder of a hydrocarbon storage-area licence or hydrocarbon storage-area lease should be vested in the holder and the contents of the vesting order;
(m) respecting the design, construction, inspection, testing, operation, maintenance and repair of storage reservoirs and equipment, materials and installations used therein and works, fittings, machines or plants associated or connected therewith;
(r) vesting in the Board any authority and powers considered necessary or advisable for the purpose of enabling the Board to conduct and perform its duties pursuant to this Act, including cost recovery for services;