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 Requirements;
  • Certificate of Fitness (if applicable);
  • Declaration of Operator, and
  • Cost Recovery.

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.


Chief Safety Officer

The CNSOPB’s Chief Safety Officer, Robert Normore, has a Diploma in Environmental Engineering Technology, a Bachelor of Technology (Environmental Studies) and has more than 25 years of health, safety and environmental experience. Mr. Normore is also a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and has completed training in a variety of role-related Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) topics, including Emergency Response and Incident Command System, HSE Auditing, and Incident Investigation.

Chief Conservation Officer

The CNSOPB’s Chief Conservation Officer, Carl Makrides, has a Bachelor of Science in Geology, and is a registered Professional Geoscientist. Mr. Makrides has more than 25 years of experience in petroleum geology, petrophysics 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.

Health, Safety and Environment

The Director of the Operations/Health, Safety and Environment, Dena Murphy, has more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas, health, safety and environment fields, has a Masters of Science and a Masters in Marine Management, and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP).
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 totals more than 40 years).

This team also consists of Professional Engineers, other Masters/Bachelor degreed personnel, and CRSPs. Their extensive training and hands on experience includes:

  • Occupational health and safety
  • Operational safety of oil and gas activities (including seismic acquisition programs, drilling, construction/installation/hook-up, commissioning of production, production operations and decommissioning and abandonment)
  • Marine safety (including diving safety)
  • Aviation safety

The Environment Team is comprised of three environmental advisors, with a combined experience of approximately 70 years (in addition to their Director’s more than 20 years). This team consists of staff with degrees in engineering and science, including Professional Engineers and Marine Biologists. Their extensive training and hands-on experience includes:

  • Marine biology
  • Environmental impacts
  • Spill response
  • Environmental assessments
  • Fisheries issues  

Based on experience and expertise, the Federal and Provincial Ministers jointly designate CNSOPB staff members as Occupational Health and Safety Officers, Operational Safety Officers, and Conservation Officers (environmental).

These individuals have specific legislative and regulatory authorities with respect to either health and safety, or environmental protection that includes the ability to issue orders or stop operators that are likely to cause serious bodily injury or lead to harm of the environment.

Currently, the Federal and Provincial Ministers have jointly designated:

  • 5 Occupational Health and Safety Officers
  • 6 Operational Safety Officers
  • 4 Conservation Officers (focused on environmental protection)


The Resources team includes eight geologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and reservoir engineering professionals. This team has advanced degrees (including doctoral and master’s degrees) in earth sciences. Their extensive training and hands-on experience includes:

  • Reservoir management
  • Petroleum geoscience
  • Seismic interpretation
  • Petroleum resource assessment
  • Operations geology
  • Formation evaluation

Based on experience and expertise, the Federal and Provincial Ministers jointly designate CNSOPB staff members as Conservation Officers, focused on resource conservation (i.e. the minimization of waste of petroleum resources).

These individuals have specific legislative and regulatory authorities with respect to resource conservation. Currently, the Federal and Provincial Ministers have jointly designated 2 Conservation Officers in this regard, who are separate from the 2 Conservation Officers appointed for environmental protection.

Regulatory Affairs and Finance

The Regulatory Affairs and Finance team is comprised of six individuals who hold numerous bachelors and master’s degrees in geology, engineering, public policy, and business administration. Their extensive training and hands-on experience includes:

  • Industrial benefits
  • Assess and review an applicant’s proof of financial requirements to ensure that companies operating in Canada-Nova Scotia’s offshore demonstrate that they have the means and resources to cover the costs associated with an accident or spill
  • Management and administration of regulatory policy, offshore petroleum rights, risk management, finance and Board governance

Regulatory Excellence

The CNSOPB strives to achieve excellence in the implementation of all facets of its regulatory mandate. With this comes a commitment to continuous improvement.  The CNSOPB invests heavily in building and maintaining the technical competencies and expertise of its staff through training programs offered locally and in other oil and gas centres globally. 

Technological innovation and bettering operating practices are continually evolving in the offshore oil and gas industry. Likewise, regulators around the world continue to advance their regulatory practices to drive improved regulatory compliance and safe, responsible development by operators. 

The CNSOPB participates in national and international committees, international conferences, forums and symposiums to stay up-to-date to ensure that best appropriate safety and environment technologies and regulatory practices are employed in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area.