Newfoundland & Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association (NOIA), Canada’s largest offshore oil and gas association, has criticized the Canadian governments consultation process with indigenous communities when it comes to offshore oil and gas project planning.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has this week revealed a list of recipients of federal funds to assist public and indigenous groups participate in the environmental assessment process related to offshore oil & gas projects off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
NOIA argues that the groups receiving funding are located in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia while the proposed project is located in the Flemish Pass Basin, which is over 400 kilometers east of Newfoundland and Labrador in the Atlantic Ocean, and has criticized what it described as “consultation for the sake of consultation.”
Andrew Bell, chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries (Noia) Board of Directors said: “Noia is fully supportive of meaningful consultation but it must be limited to projects that have the real potential to impact rights.”
“We are calling on the Government of Canada to set parameters on consultation where there is a low or no probability of impact – such as our offshore area. Consultation simply for the sake of consultation benefits no one – it has to make sense.”
“So far in 2017, CEAA has allocated more than $859,111 in federal funds to assist public and indigenous groups”
According to the oil industry association, so far in 2017, CEAA has allocated more than $859,111 in federal funds to assist public and indigenous groups from over 2000 kilometers away to take part in the environmental assessment process related to offshore oil & gas projects off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
In addition, Noia said, over $700,000, or 84% of the total, has gone to groups outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It seems that almost $1 million has been allocated for participation in consultations to the same groups concerning the same areas time and time again,” added Bell. “Noia questions not only the use of tax payers’ dollars but the additional time these consultations add to an already lengthy process.”
Flemish pass drilling plan
As Offshore Energy Today reported earlier this week, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has allocated $206,880 in federal funds to 11 recipients to assist their participation in the environmental assessment of the proposed Nexen Energy’s Flemish Pass exploration drilling project in the Atlantic Ocean.
The project is located over 400 kilometers east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, in an area known as the Flemish Pass.
The funding was made available through the agency’s Participant Funding Program.
According to the agency, it will assist the participation of the public and Indigenous groups in upcoming steps of the environmental assessment, which include reviewing and providing comments on the Environmental Impact Statement or on its summary, the draft Environmental Assessment Report and the potential environmental assessment conditions.
Nexen Energy is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling project within two offshore exploration licenses in the Flemish Pass Basin. The project would take place over an 11-year period, starting in 2018, and would allow for Nexen to determine the presence, nature and quantities of potential hydrocarbon resources.
Nexen’s current offshore interests in Atlantic Canada include two existing Exploration Licences (ELs) off Eastern Newfoundland (EL 1144 and EL 1150) which were issued by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) effective January 15, 2015 and January 15, 2016, respectively. Nexen is currently the sole interest holder in EL 1144 and EL 1150.
It is currently planned that the project will involve drilling between one and possibly up to five wells on each of these ELs, and it may therefore comprise the drilling of up to 10 wells within the project area over its duration.
The recipients of the funds include Conseil de la Première Nation des Innus Natashkuan; Corporation Ka Tshishpeuatak, on behalf of the Conseil des Innu de Ekuanitshit; Elsipogtog First Nation, Kwilmu’kw Maw-Klusuaqn Negotiation Office; Maliseet Nation in New Brunswick; Miawpukek First Nation; Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat; Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated; NunatuKavut Community Council; Sipekne’katik; and Woodstock First Nation.