BP Canada gets approval to drill a well off Nova Scotia coast

FILE: BP Canada has been approved to begin drilling off of Nova Scotia.
FILE: BP Canada has been approved to begin drilling off of Nova Scotia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Daniella Beccaria/

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) has given British Petroleum (BP) Canada the go-ahead to drill a well off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The announcement was made Saturday morning in a news release. CNSOPB spokesperson Stacy O’Rourke said the authorization was made for BP Canada’s Aspy D-11 exploration well.

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“As we worked through the authorization and approval processes, we focused on ensuring that BP Canada has in place the necessary equipment, systems, operating plans and procedures, and appropriately trained and competent personnel,” said CNSOPB CEO Stuart Pinks in the news release.

“Our team is proud of our rigorous review process, and we remain diligent in our compliance monitoring to ensure BP Canada’s activities are conducted in a safe and responsible manner for the duration of the project.”

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An “Unwelcoming Party” was held this month in Halifax by the Nova Scotia branch of the Council of Canadians Acting for Social Justice, with hopes of making it clear that BP Canada was not welcome in the province.

The organization said BP Canada’s role in the Deepwater Horizon spill – which is considered the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry – should “disqualify” BP Canada from drilling in Nova Scotia.

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CNSOPB said BP Canada’s proposed drilling underwent an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. In the news release, CNSOPB stated the federal minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada said the project “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects,” and can proceed “subject to compliance with legally-binding conditions.”

CNSOPB said it will ensure BP Canada complies with the conditions contained within the minister’s decision statement.

“We understand that the decisions we make can impact our environment and community,” said Pinks in a statement. “Feedback from Indigenous groups and key stakeholders, coupled with our knowledge of advancing technologies and practices that may lessen the impacts, have resulted in additional requirements being placed on BP Canada.”

“We’re confident in saying that all reasonable precautions to maintain safety and environmental protection have been taken.”

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The CNSOPB began reviewing information submitted by BP Canada in support of their planned drilling program in April 2017. An application for authorization to drill one deep-water exploration well approximately 330 kilometres from Halifax, and in approximately 2,800 metres of water depth, was officially submitted on September 21, 2017.