In British Columbia landowners do not generally own the subsurface rights to oil and gas resources. These are mostly owned by the provincial government, who has the authority to grant rights to companies to explore the resources. Further details on the difference between surface and subsurface ownership and rights are provided under Basics of Land Ownership.
When a company plans to develop a resource and use of private land is required, they must work out lease agreements and compensation amounts with private landowners. These discussions do not always lead to positive resolutions and may require some assistance to come to an agreement. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Act gives the Surface Rights Board jurisdiction to resolve entry and compensation disputes for wellsite, flow line and facility activities.
The authority to construct and operate a pipeline is provided through the Oil and Gas Activities Act. Unresolved entry and compensation issues for pipelines are determined through the Expropriation Act.
To distinguish the difference between a flow line and a pipeline, see Pipelines and Flow Lines Defined.