Energy, Mines and Resources

Government's role in oil and gas development

Being the steward of public assets

Being the steward of public assets is a challenging and important task.

When considering a project for development, Yukon government must take social, environmental and economic considerations into account. Plus, the public and Yukon First Nations has come to expect that their interests are protected in the course of a natural resource development.

So let’s take a look at what stewardship entails.

Protecting the public and Yukon First Nations’ interest is enshrined in Yukon’s oil and gas legislation [ 124 KB] and guides Yukon government’s public service employees in their day-to-day duties. This include:

  • Ensuring that Yukoners benefit from oil and gas activities such as jobs, services, benefits agreements, etc;
  • Safeguarding our environment;
  • Integrating environmental and socio-economic and cultural considerations in decision-making for oil and gas development;
  • Applying rules fairly to all oil and gas activities throughout Yukon;
  • Ensuring safe practices are used in the course of all oil and gas activities; and,
  • Creating an opportunity for First Nations and Yukon government to establish a common administration for oil and gas development in Yukon, while respecting the jurisdictions of each government.

There are many protocols, procedures, and processes in place to support these interests.

Back in 1998, when the Yukon government became responsible for the administration and control of oil and gas resources from the federal government, a whole new set of responsibilities were created.

Who in government tasked with for administering these responsibilities?

The answer is, it is not one single person but rather it is a number of people. Here’s how it works.

The Oil and Gas Act defines who makes which decisions. Whether it is Cabinet, the Minister, or public service employees making a decision, they all consider the public and Yukon First Nations interests noted above.

Cabinet has some specific responsibilities such as passing regulations. The Minister will make some decisions and delegate the authority to make other decisions to experts in within the public service.

This is important because it ensures that people with the necessary skills, knowledge, abilities, and competencies are charged with the day-to-day duties of watching over resource development.

Consistent application of the regulations gives industry stability and improves confidence in the regulator.

The Minister appoints two positions who are in charge of administering the Oil and Gas Act: one is to appoint a Chief Operations Officer and the other is to appoint a Division Head.

The Chief Operations Officer is assigned by the Minister to make decisions regarding the licensing of actual activities for oil and gas development, such as exploration and drilling, production operations, and decommissioning.

The position of Chief operations Officer requires a professionally trained and experienced individual. Yukon’s Chief Operations Officer is Chioma Izugbokwe. Chioma is responsible for protecting the public and Yukon First Nations interest with regards to oil and gas development projects. 

Yukon legislation also allows the Chief Operations Officer to consult the expertise and experience of other colleagues to ensure the latest technical knowledge is available for decision making.

Derek Fraser is Yukon’s appointed Division Head as well as the Manager of the Oil and Gas Resources branch. Derek is responsible for financial issues, such as land rentals and royalties.

Chioma and Derek are experienced and educated officials with many years of experience. They are well positioned to oversee Yukon’s oil and gas development projects, guided by Yukon’s comprehensive oil and gas legislation.


Learn more about Yukon's regulatory framework for oil and gas development:

Questions or comments? Contact us: 


Oil and Gas Resources
Phone: 867.393.7042
Toll-free: 1.800.661.0408 ext. 7042
Email: oilandgasconversation@gov.yk.ca