Tougher regulations for oil firms operating offshore Nova Scotia

The government of Canada’s province Nova Scotia has informed that new regulations that strengthen accountability for companies operating in offshore Nova Scotia came into effect on Friday, February 26, 2016. 

The recent amendments to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act were introduced in the fall 2014 legislative session and, according to the government of Nova Scotia, they represent “a significant update to environmental liability protections, transparency and clarity for offshore operators”.

Noteworthy act amendments include keeping liability for fault unlimited; raising the absolute liability limit, which applies even if the operator is not at fault, from $30 million to $1 billion per operator; raising the financial capacity requirements for drilling, production and development to at least $1 billion; and giving the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board authority to administer monetary penalties.

Lloyd Hines, acting Energy Minister, said: “We already have one of the strongest offshore safety and environmental protection regimes in the world, and we continually work with our federal partners to keep them updated. This effort ensures we have clear rules in place for industry players who have an active interest in exploring and developing our offshore’s natural resources.”

New regulations include cost recovery regulations, administrative monetary penalty regulations and financial requirement regulations.

The federal government has mirror legislation and regulations that are coming into effect at the same time, as part of the joint management of the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore.

These changes will also occur in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area, and other areas of federal jurisdiction as part of an effort to adopt a common approach to regulating Canada’s offshore.

Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy and to protecting the environment. 

“The legislation coming into force does just that, as it will strengthen environmental protection in our offshore petroleum industry, an industry that continues to bring considerable economic benefits, including jobs, to the Atlantic region.”

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