Feb.23, 2011 posted by Offshore Drilling adminMarch 3, 2011
Click here to read what was discussed at this meeting.
Delta St. John’s Salon C&D 120 New Gower Street, St. John’s NL
Witnesses: Nalcor Energy, Office of Climate Change Energy Efficiency and Emissions, NunatuKavut Development Corporation, Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (continue reading…)
Oct.28, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminOctober 28, 2010
National Energy Board of Canada
Gaétan Caron, Chair and CEO
Bharat Dixit, Team Leader, Conservation of Resources
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Oct.12, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling SaskiaList of Recommendations
|RECOMMENDATION 1||The committee does not recommend banning current offshore drilling either permanently or temporarily while Canada’s government regulators re-evaluate the regulatory regime, safety measures and contingency plans in light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.|
|RECOMMENDATION 2||The committee recommends exploring in greater detail the structure and role of the offshore petroleum Boards to determine whether there may be in fact a material conflict between regulatory roles.|
|RECOMMENDATION 3||The committee recommends a thorough discussion by regulators and industry respecting whether and under what circumstances relief wells should be prescribed. As was the case in the Gulf of Mexico, a relief well can take several months to complete; therefore, it follows that current US relief well drilling requirements appear to be inadequate to maximize oil slick containment and minimize environmental damage. As well, drilling two exploratory wells instead of one may inadvertently increase the likelihood of a blowout.|
|RECOMMENDATION 4||The committee recommends that there be greater collaboration between all those responsible for responding to an oil spill in developing, preparing and practicing in advance of an event.|
|RECOMMENDATION 5||The committee recommends that all offshore operators be required to organize Tier Three spill response tabletop drills at regular intervals.|
|RECOMMENDATION 6||The committee recommends a comprehensive review of the issue of liability, including whether the thresholds should be adjusted to reflect current economic realities.|
Sep.28, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminOffshore Drilling Review
Read the report and share your comments below.
For three months this spring and summer (April 20 to July 15, 2010), people around the world have been exposed 24/7 to the shocking spectacle of crude oil gushing uncontrolled into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to foul sensitive ecological wetlands, pristine beaches, valuable fishing beds and vast bird and other wildlife sanctuaries. Thanks to the print, electronic and social media, BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster and the ongoing saga of trying to stem the “Black Tide” resulting from the blow-out of its Macondo offshore well has played out in a very public and dramatic way. Few could avoid seeing the non-stop video portrayal of thick black oil gushing into the Gulf waters from the breached well-head pipe some 5,000 feet below the surface. There were ultimately, as well, daily scenes of seabirds covered with the sticky, black substance.
Reactions around the globe have been many and varied. United States President Obama himself has been directly involved, visiting the site on several occasions and issuing highly charged comments and statements on a regular basis, and he has ordered an indefinite moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling, not only in the Gulf of Mexico but everywhere in the American offshore. BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, has been forced to resign his position. Activists have described the incident as possibly the greatest environmental disaster of all time. Some interest groups have supported the President’s call for a drilling moratorium. Many others have opposed it. In countries with thriving oil and gas offshore exploration and development industries, debates as to whether to drill or not to drill are now ongoing. In most of these nations, urgent reviews of the regulatory regimes governing offshore operations are being conducted. At the same time, citizens in these nations are expressing consternation about “What if it happens here?” or “Can it happen here?”, and “Are we exposed and what is our response capacity?.
Canada is no exception. Following the explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon on April 20th, 2010 killing 11 workers, injuring 28 others and causing literally millions of barrels of crude oil to spew uncontrolled into the Gulf of Mexico, the reaction in Canada was immediate and, in some cases, extreme. Not only was there concern that the “Black Tide”, propelled by ocean currents, might find its way to Canadian shores, but also Canadian wildlife proponents worried about the fate of Canada’s migratory birds, including the legendary loon, which make their way south to winter and nest in the welcome marshes of Louisiana and in other Gulf Coast wetlands. As well, there was immediate public focus on Canada’s “substantial” offshore oil and gas industry. Without fully understanding the nature and scope of Canada’s offshore industry, many Canadians worried out loud, “What about drilling in and under our precious Arctic ice and waters, off the environmentally sensitive coast of British Columbia and beneath the frigid, and in many cases deep waters off the coast of Atlantic Canada?” By early May, a significant percentage of Canadians were said to be advocating an immediate, albeit temporary, halt to all offshore drilling and production activity in Canada. Many called for a permanent suspension of Canadian offshore operations. At the same time, Canadian federal and provincial regulators and legislators, led by the National Energy Board, began immediate reviews of our offshore regulatory regimes. They also dispatched task forces to monitor the disaster response operations in the Gulf of Mexico, to witness or participate in the investigations undertaken to determine what went wrong and to attempt to identify lessons to be learned for Canada from BP’s unfortunate incident.
Given the often conflicting media and other reports respecting the BP disaster and the propensity of citizens and governments to rush to judgement after major disasters, the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources decided on May 26th to launch a relatively brief series of fact-finding hearings designed to determine as accurately as possible, within the available time frame, the current status of Canada’s offshore oil and gas exploration and development industry, including the nature of the applicable regulatory regime(s) and Canada’s present offshore disaster response capability. The idea was to either allay or validate the said fears of Canadians and to outline for them the “actual state of play in Canada’s offshore”, thus permitting them going forward to develop informed opinions.
During the six-week period from May 27 to July 8, 2010, the committee conducted nine public, televised hearings, heard the testimony of some 26 witnesses representing all or most interest groups, reviewed substantial documentation and held several in camera sessions to review the evidence. The committee’s findings and recommendations are set forth in the body of this Report. There is no doubt that Canada has an active and potentially more active offshore oil and gas exploration and development industry, one which is of significant importance to the economic well-being of Canada at large and particularly of those provinces where offshore activity is currently taking place. The committee believes it is important to note that at present, such activity is only taking place in the offshore Atlantic waters adjacent to Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. In fact, there is only one active offshore deepwater drilling operation currently in process, namely Chevron’s Lona O-55 exploratory well in the Orphan Basin of the Atlantic Ocean, some 430 km northeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. There are also several oil and gas development and production activities ongoing in the Atlantic offshore region. There is also a standing moratorium on any offshore exploration and drilling activities off the sensitive George’s Bank.
As to the Arctic offshore, including the Beaufort Sea, there is no drilling currently taking place. Licences have been issued which do contemplate future drilling activity in Arctic waters, but no drilling has as yet been approved. It is anticipated that activity will begin in 2014.
On the West coast, in the Pacific Ocean waters off British Columbia, no offshore activity is taking place. A moratorium on Canadian West coast offshore operations was implemented in 1972 and continues in effect with both federal and provincial approval. No exploratory or drilling licences have been issued.
Meantime, the committee determined that Canada’s offshore industry is subject to a regulatory regime that is modern, up-to-date and among the most efficient and stringent in the world, as compared with those in effect in other nations with active offshore industries. Canada’s applicable legislation, rules and regulations, both for the Arctic and elsewhere, are presently under full review by the National Energy Board and Canada’s regulators have processes in place to ensure that Canada benefits to the maximum from any and all lessons to be learned as a result of the BP disaster.
The committee considered whether it would be appropriate to recommend a temporary ban on or suspension of the above-mentioned Chevron deepwater drilling operation in the Orphan Basin. No evidence was adduced to justify any such ban or suspension and the committee is recommending that the said Chevron operation continue as planned, under close scrutiny and supervision by the regulators and with great caution and use of state-of-the-art technology in light of the Deepwater Horizon incident. In addition, special attention should be brought to bear to ensure Chevron’s oil spill response plans are adequate in the circumstances. Finally, the committee notes that the environment in which the Chevron exploratory drilling operation is taking place differs substantially from that where the Deepwater Horizon incident occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, not far from numerous ecologically sensitive wetlands and important fishing grounds and wildlife sanctuaries.
The committee has certain concerns about present offshore disaster response planning and capacity in Canada and discusses these in this Report. Research and development spending by the major oil companies is currently substantial, but the committee believes it should be increased, if possible, with emphasis on new and better technology for dealing with deepwater blow-outs and responding to catastrophic spills.
Generally, the committee recognizes that offshore exploration and development in the oil and gas industry is a highly risky and costly business. The need to balance the risk factors with the need for energy security and other economic considerations, plus the potential consequences of a major crude oil spill are obvious. Over-regulation and excessively rigid safety requirements could potentially discourage the petroleum industry from investing the massive sums of money already required to participate successfully in this complex business. The committee heard sufficient evidence to make it comfortable with Canada’s (federal and provincial) approach to striking this risk/reward balance and with its new judgment-based and goal-oriented regulatory approach. Canada is a leading participant in the International Regulators Forum, a group of offshore industry regulators from the most active offshore drilling nations, including Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Brazil. Interestingly, none of these nations have called for or imposed bans on current offshore drilling operations within their jurisdictions following the BP incident. One concern expressed by the committee in this Report relates to Canada’s laws governing the liability and responsibility for loss and damage, including economic loss and environmental cleanup expenses following a major oil spill arising during an offshore drilling operation. Canadian rules in this area are somewhat confused and conflicting, and require a careful review and, at the very least, an upgrading to take into consideration present day economic realities.
In conclusion, the committee wishes to assure Canadians that Canada’s offshore oil and gas industry is in good hands, that we could not identify any justification for a temporary or permanent ban or moratorium on current offshore operations, that Canada’s regulatory regime is a good one, which is continually subject to upgrading and improvement based on experience such as the BP incident, and that any future offshore operations authorized to take place in Canadian jurisdiction, be they in Arctic waters, off the Pacific Coast or off Atlantic Canada, will be well and carefully regulated and controlled, given the experience of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. There are indeed areas where the committee has concerns and where improvements can be introduced on the legal, regulatory and operational levels. These are clearly outlined in this Report.
Jul.08, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminThursday, July 8, 2010
Patrick Borbey, Assistant Deputy Minister, Northern Affairs
Michel Chenier, Director, Policy and Coordination, Northern Affairs
Kerry Newkirk, Director, Oil and Gas Management, Northern Affairs
Jun.29, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminTuesday, June 29, 2010
ExxonMobil Canada Ltd.
Glenn Scott, President
ExxonMobil Development Company
Paul Schuberth, Drilling Technical Manager
Jun.22, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminTuesday, June 22, 2010
David Pryce, Vice President, Operations
Gaétan Caron, Chair and CEO
Brian Nesbitt, Technical Leader, Engineering, Operations Business Unit
Jun.17, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminThursday, June 17, 2010
Malcolm Weatherston, Project General Manager, Deep Panuke, Canadian Division, Atlantic Canada
William Zukiwski, Drilling & Completions Superintendent, Deep Panuke, Canadian Division, Atlantic Canada
Paul McCloskey, Vice President, East Coast Operations
Al Pate, General Manager, Exploration and Production Services
Jun.15, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminTuesday, June 15, 2010
René Grenier, Deputy Commissioner
Alex Li, Director, Safety and Environmental Response
Chantal Guenette, Manager, Environmental Response
James Carson, President and General Manager
Jun.10, 2010 posted by Offshore Drilling adminThursday, June 10, 2010
Mark MacLeod, Vice President, Atlantic Canada
David MacInnis, Vice President, Policy, Government and Public Affairs