Decision Date: September 19, 2013
Panel: Blair Lockhart
Keywords: Oil and Gas Activities Act – s. 72(2); permit; pipeline; land owner
Melvin Hogg appealed a decision of the Oil and Gas Commission (“Commission”) to issue a permit authorizing Murphy Oil Company Ltd. (“Murphy Oil”) to construct and operate a pipeline. The pipeline consists of three flow lines situated in a right of way. A 0.1 acre portion of Mr. Hogg’s land is covered by the pipeline and its right of way.
Before Murphy Oil applied for the pipeline permit, it notified Mr. Hogg of its proposal, and consulted with him regarding the proposed route for the pipeline. Murphy Oil met with Mr. Hogg four times, and spoke with him by telephone several times.
In June 2012, Murphy Oil applied for the pipeline permit.
In July 2012, Mr. Hogg provided a written submission to the Commission regarding Murphy Oil’s proposal. In his submission, he raised concerns about the impact of the pipeline on his property, which he claimed was in a natural state, and he indicated that there was an alternate route available to Murphy Oil on a neighbour’s land. He submitted that the alternate route would be shorter, and would have minimal impact on the neighbour’s property.
In response, Murphy Oil provided a submission to the Commission, in which it addressed Mr. Hogg’s concerns. Regarding the alternate route suggested by Mr. Hogg, Murphy Oil advised that although the alternate route would be shorter, it would have a more significant impact on the neighbouring land owner, as the footprint for the pipeline would be larger and a portion of the neighbouring property would be “severed” by the pipeline.
In January 2013, the Commission issued the permit to Murphy Oil. The pipeline was constructed in April 2013.
In the appeal, Mr. Hogg submitted, among other things, that Murphy Oil should have used the alternate pipeline route.
Both the Commission and Murphy Oil opposed the appeal. They argued that the Commission gave due regard to Mr. Hogg’s submissions, as required by the Oil and Gas Activities Act, before it issued the pipeline permit.
The Tribunal considered whether the Commission’s determination to issue the permit was made without due regard to Mr. Hogg’s submissions. The Tribunal considered Mr. Hogg’s submissions to the Commission, and the Commission’s reasons for its decision. The Tribunal concluded that the Commission gave due regard to Mr. Hogg’s concerns about the impact of the pipeline on his land. Before the Commission issued the permit, it conducted a detailed comparison of the two proposed pipeline routes, and considered the potential impacts on the land owners as well as the environment. The Tribunal found that the physical impact of the pipeline on Mr. Hogg’s land is minimal, as only 0.1 acres is affected and there is no requirement for an emergency protected zone around the pipeline on his land. In contrast, the alternate route would have had a larger footprint, would have isolated a portion of the neighbour’s land, and the pipeline would have been closer to a creek that is tributary to the drinking water source for the City of Dawson Creek.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.