Energy, Mines and Resources

Government's role in oil and gas development

Pace and scale

Going too fast or too big is a concern we often hear in relation to oil and gas development.

In Yukon, we have time. We have time to learn from other jurisdictions and use this information to maximize benefits and minimize the imprint of oil and gas development. The pace and scale of future development will be constrained and targeted.

To date, Yukon has seen limited oil and gas exploration, and no development of our shale-based resources. With this in mind, we are taking the time necessary to gather important baseline information and conduct research before further decisions related to the development of shale oil and gas resources are made.

We are the only jurisdiction in Canada to invest in multi-disciplinary baseline data collection and research in advance of shale development. This investment will provide a knowledge base on which to make sound decisions in the future.

Discussions about the rapid increases in the pace and scale of oil and gas activities in Yukon are not supported by past history, current conditions, or future projections. Even when oil and gas prices have been record high, there has been limited exploration.

The pace and scale of oil and gas exploration is controlled by many factors, including:

  • geology, commodity prices, global markets;
  • logistical considerations such as remoteness and access to markets;
  • government policies, regulatory timelines and land availability; and
  • industry interest.

One of the factors which strongly impacts pace and scale of future development is the limited amount of land available in areas that are prospective to oil and gas.

The Yukon government has assessed how much land is available for oil and gas rights dispositions. As of 2015, only 4.3 per cent of Yukon’s total land area was available for oil and gas rights dispositions.  Realistically, only a small amount of this area will see any actual imprint.

To illustrate this in more detail, a proposed 20-well exploration program estimates a total surface footprint of less than one square kilometre, plus road access, for all 20 wells. To put this in perspective, the total footprint would be approximately one-third the size of the Erik Nielsen International Airport in Whitehorse.

The Yukon government is taking its time when it comes to developing our oil and gas industry. We are gathering information, talking to Yukoners and conducting research before any decisions on oil and gas development are made.

Learn more about stewardship in 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