The Board is responsible for the management and administration of offshore petroleum licences and associated land rights. Each rights activity is subject to a review and approval process. There are three types of licences: exploration, significant discovery and production.
Exploration Licences (EL) may be issued for Crown lands through an established Call for Bids process that is open and transparent. An EL has a maximum term of 9 years and provides licence owner(s) with the right to explore, the exclusive right to develop, drill and test for petroleum, and to obtain a production licence.
Significant Discovery Licences (SDL) may be issued for lands within a declared significant discovery area. The term of an SDL is indefinite and was designed to maintain an explorer's rights during the period between first discovery and eventual production.
Production Licence (PL) confers the right to produce petroleum in any area which is subject to a commercial discovery. In order to be deemed a commercial discovery, an operator must demonstrate that the discovery contains reserves that will justify the investment of capital and effort to bring the discovery to production. A PL has a term of 25 years but may be extended if commercial production is continuing or is likely to recommence. Rights Management in the Nova Scotia offshore area is based on the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act model, as illustrated below.