Update #3: Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board’s Response to COVID-19

01/04/2020

CNSOPB staff continue to follow the directives from the provincial and federal governments and the Chief Medical Officer to work remotely at home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are fully operational and remain committed to fulfilling our mandate.

Status of Offshore Operations

Decommissioning and abandonment activities continue in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area.

On March 25, 2020, our Chief Safety Officer issued an Order Respecting Essential Employees. This Order supports the health measures put in place by the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer.

Enhanced Protective Health Measures

As we shared in our March 17 update, operators have implemented enhanced measures to minimize risks to offshore workers. These changes affect how passengers are processed at the heliport, how they travel on helicopters and how operations are taking place offshore.

Additional screening starts the moment an employee is placed on a manifest to travel offshore. When an employee arrives at the airport, they must enter through a trailer where a screening questionnaire and temperature scan is conducted by a health professional. If an employee does not pass the screening, they are not permitted to travel offshore.

At the heliport, physical distancing measures have been implemented. For example, there are taped lines on the floor to serve as physical distancing reminders for passengers, and helicopter flights and manifests are planned to ensure physical distancing of passengers to the extent possible.

Cougar, the helicopter service provider, has procured Immu-Shield which applies a fogging spray that has been proven to act against COVID-19. This is used at the heliport and in the helicopters. This is an application that lasts 30 days and is reapplied regularly. Enhanced cleaning is taking place at the heliport and in helicopters daily. 

Prior to joining a vessel that supports offshore operations, workers are screened and only those who pass the screening are permitted onboard.

Once employees are offshore, operators have implemented additional monitoring procedures for onboard offshore platforms and supply vessels. On offshore platforms, operators have initiated enhanced cleaning and sanitization, modified shifts and work rotations, and staggered meal schedules to support physical distancing. 

Training and Qualification Extensions

The Atlantic Canada Offshore Petroleum Training and Qualifications Committee has made changes to requirements for training, qualification and medical certificates for offshore workers.

Those whose training is set to expire shortly will be granted a temporary extension and may complete re-training when it is safe to do so.

Additionally, Transport Canada’s March 16, 2020 Ship Safety Bulletin noted the extension of the validity of the following Marine Personnel Certificates:

  • Certificates of Competency
  • Certificates of Proficiency
  • Provisional Marine Medical Certificates
  • Marine Medical Certificate

On March 30, 2020, Transport Canada Civil Aviation issued a similar extension regarding training requirements for escape breathing apparatus and helicopter underwater egress as described in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). This exemption can be found on Transport Canada’s website

Communication with Stakeholders

We are in daily contact with contact with operators, the federal and provincial governments, our colleagues at the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, and other offshore regulators around the world.

In our March 17 update, we directed operators to increase communication with their workforces so offshore workers are kept up-to-date.

We continue to post our updates on our website and Twitter. 

If you have specific questions about an operator, their operations, or their health and safety measures, please see the operators’ contact information below.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the following links:

About the Board

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is the independent joint agency of the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia responsible for the regulation of petroleum activities and resources offshore Canada-Nova Scotia.

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Contact:

CNSOPB Contact:
Laura Wright
Advisor, Communications
Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board
Cell: 902-471-9285 | lwright@cnsopb.ns.ca

Operator Contacts:
Merle MacIsaac
Public & Government Affairs
ExxonMobil Canada Ltd. - Operator of the Sable Offshore Energy Project
merle.j.macisaac@exxonmobil.ca

Cindy Hassler
Director, Communications
Ovintiv Canada ULC - Operator of the Deep Panuke Offshore Gas Development Project
cindy.hassler@ovintiv.com