Offshore Activity

Activity Authorizations

No activities related to the exploration for, development of or transportation of petroleum can be conducted without a specific authorization issued by the Board. An Operator must make application to the Board for such authorization on one of the following forms:



Prior to issuing any such authorizations, the Board requires that the following be submitted in a satisfactory form:

  • Description of the proposed activities, along with prescribed technical details;
  • Execution plan and schedule;
  • Canada-Nova Scotia Benefits Plan;
  • Development Plan (for development related activities);
  • Safety Plan;
  • Environmental Assessment;
  • Environmental Protection Plan;
  • Emergency Response/Contingency Plans;
  • Spill Response Plan;
  • Financial Security;
  • Certificate of Fitness (if applicable), and
  • Declaration of Operator. 

Available guidance and filling requirements can be found under Publications

The Board must be satisfied with the information provided before it will issue a work or activity authorization.

A certificate of fitness is required for certain equipment and installations, including drilling, production, diving, and accommodation installations. A certificate of fitness is issued by a Certifying Authority (CA) that has met the criteria established by regulation and is named in the Nova Scotia Offshore Certificate of Fitness Regulations. These CAs are required to review the design, construction, installation and operating manuals for the installation and certify to the Board that the installation is fit for its intended purpose, that it is in compliance with the regulations and that it can be operated safely without polluting the environment. The Board cannot issue an authorization unless there is a certificate in place for the installation.

A Declaration of Operator is required for all activities. This declaration is signed by a senior officer of the operator and states that this person has undertaken, or caused to be undertaken, sufficient work to satisfy the officer that the equipment is fit for purpose, and the personnel are properly trained so that the activity can be undertaken safely.


Board staff conducts its review of applications in accordance with procedures set out in its internal management system. These procedures ensure that all work or activity authorization applications, and associated well approval applications are reviewed by qualified and competent personnel.

The Board has delegated to the CEO the authority to approve or reject work or activity authorizations and well approval applications. By legislation, an authorization cannot be granted without first consulting with, and receiving the written recommendation of the Chief Safety Officer. In accordance with risk management procedures set out in the Board’s internal management system, certain issues and concerns identified during the review process may be brought to the attention of the Board members for their deliberation.


The Board has on staff a strong team of technical professionals who review all applications. The coordination of application reviews is managed by the Board’s Operations/Health, Safety and Environment team who are also responsible for reviewing the health, safety and environmental aspects of such applications. The Director of the Operations/Health, Safety and Environment department, Dena Murphy, has 20 years of experience in the oil and gas health, safety and environment field, has a Masters in Marine Management, and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP).

The Board’s Chief Safety Officer, Robert Normore, has a Diploma in Environmental Engineering, a Bachelor of Technology and over 20 years of health and safety experience. Mr. Normore is also a Canadian Registered Safety Professional and has completed advanced Incident Command System training. He is also a Certified Health and Safety Auditor and Incident Investigator.

The Operations/Health and Safety team is comprised of five health and safety professionals with a combined experience of approximately 90 years (in addition to the Department’s Director and Chief Safety Officer whose experience total a further 40 years). This team consists of Professional Engineers, other Masters/Bachelor degreed personnel, and CRSPs with extensive training and hands on experience in oil and gas operational and occupational health and safety, marine safety, offshore production, and drilling. Additionally, four of these staff members have been jointly designated as Operational and/or Occupational Safety Officers by the federal and provincial governments.

The CNSOPB’s Chief Conservation Officer, Carl Makrides, has a Bachelor of Science in Geology, and is a registered Professional Geoscientist. Mr. Makrides has 20 years of experience in petroleum geology and resource management. He has completed advanced Incident Command System training, as well as Oil Spill Management and Oil Spill Clearance training through Oil Spill Response Limited.

The Board’s environment staff consists of three full time Environmental Advisors, with a combined experience of approximately 65 years (in addition to their Director’s 20 years). This team consists of staff with degrees in engineering and science, including Professional Engineers and marine biologists. This team has extensive training and hands on experience in marine biology, environmental impacts, spill response, environmental assessments and fisheries issues. Two of the Board’s environment staff members have been jointly designated as Conservation Officers by the federal and provincial governments.

The Board’s Resources department includes eight geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and reservoir engineering professionals. This team has advanced degrees (including doctoral and master’s degrees) in geology, geophysics, engineering and other earth sciences. They have extensive training and hands on experience in reservoir management, petroleum resource assessment, seismic acquisition and interpretation, operations geology and well evaluation.

Staff of the Board’s Regulatory Affairs and Finance team review Canada-Nova Scotia benefits plans submitted in support of applications. This team has over 30 years of experience and holds numerous bachelors and master’s degrees in engineering, public policy, and business administration. This team is also responsible to assess and review an applicant’s proof of financial responsibility to ensure that companies operating in Nova Scotia’s offshore have the means and resources to cover the costs associated with an accident or spill.