Stena IceMAX Drillship, owned by the UK company Stena Drilling, arrived in the Nova Scotia’s waters on Tuesday.
The vessel will work on Shell Canada’s $1 billion exploration program in the Shelburne Basin, about 250 kilometres off southwestern Nova Scotia.
Shell submitted a successful bid for the area in 2012, and Shell’s Shelburne Basin Venture Exploration Drilling Project got approval in June 2015.
Premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, has welcomed the arrival of the drillship: “This is an important day in Nova Scotia’s economic history.”
“Offshore development is one of our most exciting opportunities for growth and I am thrilled Shell is committed to further exploring our offshore potential by drilling its first deep-water well.”
Shell get a license to drill
The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board on Tuesday gave approval for Shell Canada to begin work in southwestern Nova Scotia.
Stuart Pinks, CNSOPB CEO said that Shell Canada’s original submission had proposed that, in the event of a blowout, the deployment of a capping stack would take up to 21 days.
„CNSOPB required Shell Canada to review the deployment time to determine if it could be reduced,” said Pinks.
“Shell Canada has responded with a more optimized schedule that indicates that a capping stack could arrive at the wellsite, should it be required, within 12 to 13 days. At the same time, Shell Canada would also deploy a second capping stack as further contingency.”
The initial phase of Shell’s exploration campaign involves the drilling of two exploratory wells.
Prior to drilling the first well (Cheshire), Shell Canada must also receive an Approval to Drill a Well (ADW) from the CNSOPB.
The CNSOPB anticipates that this ADW would be issued “within the next few days”. A separate ADW will be required, at a later date, for the second well (Monterey Jack).
Nova Scotians are among the IceMAX crew and several local companies are lined up to supply goods and services to the ongoing project, it has been said in the announcement from the Premier’s office.
The Stena IceMAX drillship was built by Samsung Heavy Industries at Geoje Shipyard in South Korea in 2012. It is a Harsh Environment DP Class 3 drillship capable of drilling in water depths up to 10, 000ft. In 2012, Stena Drilling was awarded a 5 year worldwide drilling contract by Shell for the ‘Stena IceMAX’.
BP is next
In addition, the province will welcome BP, which bid on four parcels covering almost 14,000 square kilometers, about 300 kilometers off the coast of Nova Scotia. The UK-based company could drill its first exploratory well in 2017.