Potential for Performance-Based Regulation in the Canadian Offshore Oil and Gas Industry


  • Rob Grant, QC Stewart McKelvey, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  • Will Moreira, QC Stewart McKelvey, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  • David Henley Stewart McKelvey, Halifax, Nova Scotia.




After providing a background and comparative assessment of Performance-Based Regulation (PBR) in

other offshore oil and gas sectors, the potential for similar application in Canada is discussed. The developments in these sectors have evolved from a prescriptive regulatory scheme to one that is more PBR based. In such a regime, the governing agency sets out objectives for industry performance that include design and operation objectives, as well as expectations for safety and environmental protection.  It is then up to the individual company to develop a program as to how they propose to achieve these performance objectives, which is then submitted to the agency for review. The discussion centres on the overall compliance and improvements that have been realized by PBR regimes, and the efficiency of the government agencies. The scheme is intended to be more responsive to industry changes and requires more participation by the regulated companies than in prescriptive regimes.  Overall objectives of PBR are to reduce the level of prescriptive measures imposed upon industry by government. while reducing exposure to the risks of offshore oil and gas exploration and development by placing the means ofmanaging the risk in the hands of the operators. The premise of PBR is that these operators are in a belter position to react to changes in technology and risk than are government agencies.