A landowner may experience long delays or failure in payment of rent or compensation for an oil and gas permit. This may not indicate bankruptcy but should be pursued by the landowner.
There are a number of actions a landowner can take:
- A landowner should first contact the company directly to resolve outstanding issues on rental payments.
- If a company does not respond to a landowner’s request to discuss rental payments, the landowner can apply to the Surface Rights Board (SRB) for assistance in resolving the issue using SRB Form 1E. The SRB may issue a Payment Order and could terminate or suspend the company’s right of entry on their land. If right of entry is suspended, the permit holder must continue to pay rent or compensation and immediately suspend all oil and gas related activity on their land.
- If a landowner would like to confirm the status of the well or the company, they may contact the BC Energy Regulator.
- The landowner could conduct a Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records Search to determine if a company is involved in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.
- The landowner may wish to contact a lawyer for legal advice regarding available options.
When a company is no longer meeting their obligations to pay lenders, a Receiver is appointed by the courts. The company’s assets are assigned to the Receiver during the bankruptcy proceedings and the Receiver takes on the responsibility for the operation of the assets. Landowners have the option to submit a claim to the Receiver during the proceedings process.
Once receivership proceedings are complete, the Receiver would be discharged by the courts and any sites that are sold would be transferred to the company acquiring the permits. The new permit holder would be responsible for all ongoing lease payments. Any sites not sold may be designated as orphans and responsibility for compensation and restoration would be taken on by the BCER.