BP stalls drilling plans offshore Nova Scotia

Oil major BP has reportedly decided to delay its oil exploration project offshore Nova Scotia. 

According to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News (CBC), BP’s exploration drilling activities offshore Nova Scotia were previously scheduled to begin next year, but the oil company made a decision to postpone the project until the second quarter of 2018, which is less than a year before the company’s exploration licence expires.

The news agency also said that, provided BP has demonstrated significant activity toward drilling, the company can have the licence extended for another three years.

CBC quoted the company’s statement informing that the additional time would also support the preparation of a robust environmental assessment and mitigation plan as well as thorough drilling, incident prevention and response plans.

In an e-mail to Offshore Energy Today, the spokesperson for Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), an agency responsible for the regulation of offshore petroleum activities and resources, confirmed that BP has decided to delay the drilling program until 2018.

The spokesperson also said that CNSOPB staff had met with BP staff regularly to discuss regulatory requirements but BP had not yet submitted an application for an authorization to drill.

Offshore Energy Today also reached out to BP in Canada for confirmation of these reports.

The company’s spokesperson confirmed that BP adjusted the activity schedule to move the beginning of exploratory drilling operations from a previously planned timing of late summer 2017 to the spring of 2018.

BP’s spokesperson further explained: “The time we have added to our schedule will provide the space to finalize the selection of our exploration well locations which we anticipate will only be complete in the second half of this year. Also, the current economic environment has placed pressure on capital budgets and a delay to a summer 2018 drilling season will support cost efficiency efforts.”

The spokesperson also added: “The additional time also supports the preparation of and consultation on, a robust environmental assessment and mitigation plan. Our environmental impact assessment process is progressing and we plan to submit our Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in May of this year (2016).”

BP is the operator of four exploration licences, ELs 2431, 2432, 2433 and 2434, located approximately 300 kilometres offshore Nova Scotia. The licences cover 14,000 km2 in water depths ranging from 500-3600m.

The oil major holds 40% interest in the licences and its partners are Hess Canada, with 40% interest, and Woodside Petroleum with 20% interest.

Australian energy company Woodside farmed into BP’s licence off Nova Scotia in December 2014 when the work program that includes the drilling of exploration wells was anticipated to start in 2017.

According to information on Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, BP’s plan for the licences is to drill up to seven exploration wells over a three-year period.


 

The article has been updated to include a statement by BP

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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