Canada greenlights three offshore drilling projects

The Government of Canada has allowed for three offshore exploration drilling projects operated by BHP, Equinor, and Chevron to proceed. The oil companies can now move forward with obtaining further authorizations and permits from federal departments.

Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Source: Government of Canada

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced on Monday that the proposed BHP’s Canada Exploration Drilling Project, Equinor’s Central Ridge Exploration Drilling Project and Chevron’s West Flemish Pass Exploration Drilling Project can proceed.

The projects will allow the proponents to determine the presence, nature, and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resources within their explorations licences located approximately 350 to 375 kilometres offshore east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, the government explained.

According to the government, the projects will create jobs and benefit the economy while supporting sustainable development and protecting the environment.

The decision on the projects follows thorough environmental assessments, which concluded they are not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account.

The proponents, BHP, Equinor, and Chevron can now proceed with obtaining any additional authorizations and permits from federal departments, as well as the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

The three projects are subject to legally-binding conditions the proponents must fulfil. These conditions include measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, species-at-risk and the use of resources by Indigenous peoples.

Wilkinson said: “The Government of Canada believes that environmental assessments, which are based on science and meaningful consultations with Indigenous peoples and the public, are key to responsible resource development.

“These resources projects will provide economic opportunities for many Canadians and the legally-binding conditions imposed throughout the life of the projects will protect the environment for generations to come”.

BHP

BHP is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling project within offshore exploration licences in the Orphan Basin, located approximately 350 kilometres northeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in the Atlantic Ocean.

As proposed, the BHP Canada Exploration Drilling Project would allow the proponent to determine the presence, nature, and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resource in exploration licences 1157 and 1158.

Equinor

Equinor is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling project within its offshore exploration licences in the Central Ridge Area, located approximately 375 kilometres east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, in the Atlantic Ocean.

As proposed, the Central Ridge Exploration Drilling Project would allow the proponent to determine the presence, nature, and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resource in exploration licences 1159 and 1160.

Chevron

Chevron is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling project within its exploration licence in the Flemish Pass, located approximately 375 kilometres northeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, in the Atlantic Ocean.

As proposed, the West Flemish Pass Exploration Drilling Project would allow the proponent to determine the presence, nature, and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resource in exploration licence 1138.