The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), an offshore regulator, has issued its Call for Bids NS17-1 for exploration licenses consisting of three offshore parcels.
The CNSOPB said on Monday that the bids must be received by December 14, 2017, before 4:00 p.m. Atlantic Time.
The parcels are located in water depths of 50 to 450 meters, east of Cape Breton Island in a geological region known as the Sydney Basin. Only two wells have previously been drilled in the offshore part of the Sydney Basin, and both encountered gas in shallow sandstone formations.
The CNSOPB completed a geoscientific interpretation that indicates the parcels have the potential for both oil and gas. Active oil seeps are present onshore Cape Breton, which provides further evidence of the region’s hydrocarbon potential.
The primary target formations in the Sydney Basin are analogous to the producing zones in the Stoney Creek oil field and McCully gas field onshore New Brunswick. According to CNSOPB, these target formations have not yet been penetrated by any of the wells drilled in the Sydney Basin.
The offshore regulator added that it conducted a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the area encompassing the parcels included in the Call for Bids to identify potential environmental effects that may be associated with oil and gas activity.
In case a license is awarded, the findings in the SEA must be further considered in a project specific Environmental Assessment that would be required for any subsequently proposed offshore activity.