|2002/03 Annual Service
Ministry of Energy and Mines
the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell, the Government has moved
forward with its commitment to revitalize our economy.
As a key component of the Government's Heartlands Economic Strategy,
the Ministry of Energy and Mines made significant progress in fiscal
year 2002/03 in opening up British Columbia to opportunities for
In November 2002, we announced Energy for our Future: A Plan
for B.C. designed to increase investment in the energy sector
and maintain low-cost electricity and public ownership of BC Hydro.
The plan reflects our Government's vision of the future for both
the energy sector and the Province as a whole — a prosperous
future, lively with opportunity.
Our Government has committed to developing a thriving offshore
oil and gas industry by 2010. We received approval for up to
$8 million to the end of fiscal 2004 to establish and resource a
dedicated offshore oil and gas team to work with First Nations,
coastal communities and the Federal Government to move toward this
We successfully completed oil and gas service agreements with First
Nations in the northeast and in April 2002, we announced $2 million
for the University of Northern BC for research proposals related
to offshore oil and gas exploration and development.
Revenue from oil, natural gas, electricity and mineral resources
was $1.51 billion for 2002/03 — 4 per cent higher than estimates
and 16 per cent higher over last fiscal.
Our Ministry continues to ensure the energy and minerals sectors
play key roles in revitalizing the economy and positioning British
Columbia as a preferred choice for North American investment. The
extension of provincial flow through share tax credits in combination
with the Federal Government's mineral exploration program has given
British Columbia the advantage of having the highest mineral
exploration tax credit in Canada.
This past year, we introduced enabling legislation aimed at encouraging
mining and mineral development in British Columbia. We streamlined
regulations to enhance access to coal and mineral title holders
with the 2-Zone land use system.
Government is encouraged by a modest increase in mineral exploration
spending and growth in British Columbia's market share of Canadian
exploration dollars. This past year also saw a 34% increase in claims
The Ministry introduced the Coalbed Gas Act to encourage
development of a coalbed methane industry in British Columbia.
In keeping with the Government's goal to reduce regulatory burden,
the Ministry reduced unnecessary regulations by about 15 per cent
(or 2,657 regulations).
I am proud of the successes the Ministry has achieved this year
and look forward to more accomplishments in the coming year.
This report is designed to reflect an open and accountable approach
to the way Government serves British Columbians.
I am pleased to present the details of our success in this annual
report for fiscal year 2002/03.
Honourable Richard Neufeld
Minister of Energy and Mines