Shell Canada Limited (Shell Canada) was issued exploration licences 2423, 2424, 2425, 2426 in 2012 and licences 2429 and 2430 in 2013. In the summer of 2013, Shell Canada received authorization from the CNSOPB to conduct a 3D Wide Azimuth seismic survey over a portion of these licences in water depths ranges from 1500m to 3000m. In 2014, Shell Canada returned to the licences to conduct a seabed survey over these same areas to identify hazards.
After a lengthy environmental assessment completed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, then-Minister of Environment Canada Leona Aglukkaq issued a decision statement in June, 2015 for the Shelburne Basin Venture Drilling Project which determined that the project was “unlikely to cause significant adverse environmental effects”. The decision statement can be found on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s website here. After a rigorous application process, the CNSOPB issued an Operations Authorization – Drilling and an Approval to Drill a Well to Shell Canada in October, 2015. The first well, Cheshire 97, was completed in July, 2016. An Approval to Drill a Well was issued for the second well, Monterey Jack E-43, in August, 2016. Monterey Jack E-43 was completed in January, 2017. The Stena IceMax left offshore Nova Scotia in January 2017.
Prior to drilling any subsequent wells, Shell Canada would be required to obtain a new Operations Authorization – Drilling for the overall program, and an Approval to Drill a Well for each individual well. The Environmental Assessment completed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for the Shelburne Basin Venture Drilling Program included up to 7 wells. Shell Canada has not filed any applications with the CNSOPB for future wells at this time. Should any future wells be proposed, information will be posted under the “Recent News” section of the CNSOPB’s website
In addition, information detailing the March 5, 2016 dropped riser incident can be found on the CNSOPB’s incident bulletins page here. A summary report of the incident and the CNSOPB’s response and decision to allow Shell to resume drilling can be found here. Subsequent updates will be posted under the “Recent News” section.