Drilling operations of BP Canada (BP) continue to be suspended. The CNSOPB has sent two officers and a drilling engineer offshore to investigate the cause of the discharge. This will inform any actions by the CNSOPB.
To resume drilling, the CNSOPB must be satisfied with the responsive steps that BP has taken, and be satisfied that drilling operations can proceed safely.
The CNSOPB will refrain from commenting further on the investigation at this time, as it is ongoing.
“As the regulator of oil and gas activities in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area, we want to serve the public’s interest by being open and transparent in providing factual information,” said CNSOPB CEO, Stuart Pinks. “We will report publicly prior to the recommencement of drilling operations, should approval be granted, and we will make an investigation report public once it is complete.”
To keep the public informed, the CNSOPB is sharing the following information:
Pre-drilling video footage of the seabed area around the well location was conducted to determine the presence or absence of any aggregations of habitat-forming corals or sponges or any other environmentally sensitive features. This was a condition of the Environmental Assessment Decision Statement that was issued by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada on February 1, 2018. The pre-drilling video survey was conducted on April 14, 2018 over an area with a 500-metre radius from the wellsite in eight leg patterns in 45 degree increments of the seafloor and provided to the CNSOPB.
For a snapshot of the pre-drilling video please click here. The full video footage will be made available upon request.
A third party marine scientist was engaged to review the footage and to support the identification and analysis of any potential environmental sensitivities. The conclusion from the third party marine scientist was that no aggregations of habitat-forming corals or sponges, or any other environmentally sensitive features were identified on the seafloor within the survey area. The typical benthic habitat observed at the well site location is relatively bare and generally devoid of epifauna, with sparse solitary macrofauna scattered in the surveyed area, when present. The footage was reviewed by CNSOPB environmental advisors who came to the same conclusion. Video footage of the seabed area around the well location after the unauthorized discharge of drilling mud will be released once it is completed and reviewed as part of our investigation into this incident.