October 20, 2015 2:36 pm

Shell changes response to possible blowout, gets OK to drill off Nova Scotia

In this April 2010 file photo, oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File

HALIFAX – A federal regulator will allow Shell Canada Ltd. to begin exploration drilling off Nova Scotia after it reduced the number of days it would take the company to bring in capping technology in the event of a subsea well blowout.

The company says it would have a capping stack on site within 12 to 13 days after previously saying it would take up to 21 days.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board says it is satisfied that Shell is taking all reasonable precautions to protect safety and the environment.

Environmentalists have questioned the amount of time it would take the multinational company to bring a vessel and a capping system to the Shelburne Basin offshore site, about 250 kilometres off the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia.

They say the most recent U.S. ruling in Alaska requires that a capping stack be on hand for a blowout within 24 hours.

The offshore petroleum board says Shell initially plans to drill two exploratory wells, but before it drills the first well it must receive approval from the board, which it anticipates will be issued within a few days.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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