Shell Canada required two separate applications for their program: an Operations Authorization – Drilling (OA-D) and an Approval to Drill a Well (ADW).
Operations Authorization – Drilling (OA-D)
The process to obtain an OA-D from the CNSOPB is particularly demanding. Operators must supply the CNSOPB with a large volume of information. These items must satisfy the CNSOPB that all reasonable precautions have been and will be taken by the applicant to ensure safety and environmental protection. A list of documents needed can be found here and detailed descriptions of these documents can be found in Section 6 of the CNSOPB’s Drilling and Production Guidelines
For the purposes of Shell Canada’s drilling program, the CNSOPB required a Certificate of Fitness to be issued for the Stena IceMAX to certify that the drill ship was fit for its intended purpose, that it was in compliance with the regulations and that it could be operated safely without polluting the environment. The CNSOPB’s Chief Safety Officer approved a scope of work needed to receive this. This certificate was granted by DNV GL.
Approval to Drill a Well (ADW)
Shell Canada is proposing to drill two wells (Cheshire and Monterey Jack). Each proposed well will require its own ADW. While an operator may have obtained an OA-D, they may not begin to drill until the ADW has been obtained as well. ADWs require a substantial amount of information which is reviewed in-depth by the CNSOPB’s Operations/Health, Safety and Environment team. A detailed list of the necessary considerations for the ADW can be found in section 11 of the Drilling and Production Guidelines.
CNSOPB Review Process and Staff Expertise
Information submitted to the CNSOPB is reviewed by highly-qualified CNSOPB technical experts over a period of several months. In addition to the review of documentation, CNSOPB staff also conduct audits and inspections of worksites, installations and vessels. The CNSOPB has on staff a multi-disciplinary team consisting of engineers, technicians, geologists, geophysicists, and environmental scientists. More information on the expertise of CNSOPB staff can be found here.