Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project

The Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project was a one-well exploration program, completed 330 kilometers from Halifax. 

Fun Facts


Operated by BP Canada Energy Group ULC.


Authorization granted on April 21, 2018.


Well named Aspy D-11/D-11A.


Well drilled in approximately 2,800 metres of water depth.

Status: Abandoned (Aspy D-11/A)

The Aspy D-11/D-11A Exploration Well has been permanently plugged and abandoned.


BP Canada Energy Group ULC (BP Canada) was issued Exploration Licences 2431, 2432, 2433, and 2434 in early 2013. In the summer of 2014, BP Canada received authorization to conduct a 3D Wide Azimuth seismic survey over their Exploration Licences. BP Canada acquired seismic data over an area of approximately 7,752 square kilometres in water depths from approximately 100 metres - 4,000 metres.

Exploration Drilling Application Process

BP Canada proposed a one-well exploration project located approximately 330 kilometers from Halifax in approximately 2,800 metres of water depth. We reviewed information submitted in support of the required authorization in April 2017, with BP Canada officially submitting an application on September 21, 2017.

An Environmental Assessment of BP Canada’s Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project was conducted by the Impact Assessment Agency pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada released the Decision Statement on February 1, 2018 indicating that the Designated Project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and the project could proceed. The Environmental Assessment considered the drilling of up to seven exploration wells in total. As set out in legislation, with the Minister’s Decision Statement Released and the Impact Assessment Agency conditions finalized, we proceeded with the application review process, noting the requirements outlined by the Minister and Impact Assessment Agency.

After a rigorous document review and application process, we issued an Operations Authorization - Drilling (OA-D) and an Approval to Drill a Well (ADW) to BP Canada on April 21, 2018. These authorizations allowed BP Canada to commence drilling operations. The Aspy D-11 well was drilled using the Seadrill West Aquarius, a semi-submersible offshore drilling unit that is suited to the North Atlantic environment and deep-water drilling.

Consolidation of Licences

In April 2017, we reviewed and approved an application from BP Canada, to enter into a consolidation agreement to consolidate the four Exploration Licences (2431, 2432, 2433, and 2434). As per the conditions outlined in the June 2017 agreement, the effective date of the consolidated Exploration Licence would be the spud date for the first validation well on one of the four Exploration Licences. A validation well is a term used to describe the first well drilled to a valid geological target on an Exploration Licence.

With BP Canada having spudded the Aspy D-11 well on April 22, 2018, consolidated Exploration Licence 2434R was in effect. This means that the interior boundaries of the four Exploration Licences were merged into one, with the outer boundary remaining the same.


On August 3, 2018, BP Canada was granted an approval to drill Aspy D-11A which was a sidetrack from the Aspy D-11 well. Sidetracking means that a secondary wellbore is being drilled away from the original wellbore. Sidetracking is common during drilling operations, and can happen for operational or geological reasons.

Drilling Completed

The one-well exploration drilling project was completed on November 9, 2018. Prior to drilling any subsequent wells, BP Canada would be required to obtain a new Operations Authorization for each drilling program and Approval to Drill a Well for each individual well. This would trigger our rigorous application review process.

BP Canada has not filed any applications with us for future wells at this time. Should any future wells be proposed, information will be posted on our website, under Media. You can also view the application status of this project in the project information section below.

Moving Forward

BP Canada Energy Group ULC (BP Canada) had notified the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board that it will forfeit its $1 million drilling deposit paid in 2019 and pay a further drilling deposit of $2 million to extend Period 1 for an additional year.

This additional extension period will expire on January 14, 2021.

If BP Canada does not drill a well by January 14, 2021, it will need to select one of the following as outlined in the terms and conditions of the consolidated Exploration Licences:

  • Forfeit the 2020-2021 drilling deposit ($2 million) and pay a further drilling deposit ($3 million) to extend Period 1 for an additional year
  • Forfeit the drilling deposit and surrender 50 per cent of the remaining lands. The Exploration Licences would then move into Period 2
  • Allow the Exploration Licences to expire on January 15, 2021.

Please note that some information related to this project may be archived. For more information, please contact us at

Project Information

We publish reports and data on oil and gas activities. View the status of a project and reports related to, environmental effects monitoring, and industrial benefits, if available, below. You can also view requests made an operator for project deviations, and decisions made by our Chief Safety Officer or Chief Conservation Officer to ensure that regulatory requirements are upheld.

Application StatusOperators working in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area must submit an application and an authorization must be granted before this work can begin. View current applications and approval statuses here.

*  Geotechnical/Geological/Engineering/Environmental Program Authorization - Wave rider buoy deployment/recovery is required to install monitoring devices in the vicinity of the drilling location. The wave rider buoy monitoring device measures various oceanographic parameters, including, but not limited to, waves and currents. The hydrophone monitoring devices (3) will monitor noise levels adjacent to the drilling location as well as adjacent to the critical habitat for Northern Bottlenose Whales, located in the Gully Marine Protected Area. The purpose of this monitoring is to validate noise modelling and environmental effects predictions from the Environmental Impact Statement.

*  Operations Authorization – Drilling (OA-D) is required prior to the commencement of any exploratory drilling work or activity in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area. A drilling Program covered under an OA-D may include one or more wells. 

*   An Approval to Drill a Well (ADW) is required for each well that is to be drilled as part of a drilling program included within an Operations Authorization – Drilling (OA-D). The application for an ADW for the drilling of the first well of a drilling program is reviewed in conjunction with the operator’s application for an OA-D. In cases where the drilling program comprises more than one well, an operator is required to submit separate ADW applications for each additional well.





Geotechnical/Geological/Engineering/Environmental Program Authorization - Wave rider buoy deployment/recovery

BP Canada Energy Group ULC


Authorization Granted

Operations Authorization- Drilling

BP Canada Energy Group ULC


Authorization Granted

Approval to Drill a Well - Aspy D-11

BP Canada Energy Group ULC


Approval Granted

Approval to Drill a Well - Aspy D-11A (sidetrack)

BP Canada Energy Group ULC


Approval Granted


Equivalent Standards and ExemptionsUnder certain circumstances, the Accord Acts provide our Chief Safety Officer and/or Chief Conservation Officer with the authority to allow an alternate approach to meeting regulatory requirements. Regulatory Query Forms to request an alternate approach are processed and administered by our Operations/Health, Safety & Environment team.

  • Our Chief Safety Officer and/or Chief Conservation Officer are responsible for approving or declining Regulatory Query proposals, taking into consideration input provided by our technical team.
  • Generally speaking, before allowing an alternate approach to regulatory compliance, the Chief Safety Officer and/or Chief Conservation Officer must be convinced that the proposed approach provides a level of safety, environmental protection and conservation equivalent to that provided in regulation.
  • We post all in-effect Regulatory Query decisions made by our Chief Safety Officer and/or Chief Conservation Officer on our website, for public information purposes. Note: Regulatory Query decisions made prior to April 13, 2012 are not posted.
  • Regulatory Query applications for alternatives under the Occupational Health and Safety provisions of the Accord Acts (Part 3.1 - federal, and Part 3(A) - provincial) are made available for public comment in advance of the decision process. Comments received are reviewed by our Chief Safety Officer and/or Chief Conservation Officer prior to making a Regulatory Query decision.
  • Operators are required to submit a Regulatory Query Form to request an alternate approach.
  • We have a directive describing the submission process operators should follow when submitting a Regulatory Query Form. Check out the Regulatory Queries Directive on our Legislation and Regulatory Instruments page.

Regulatory Query Decisions

The following are Regulatory Query decisions that have been made by our Chief Safety Officer and/or Chief Conservation officer for an alternate approach to meeting certain regulatory requirements. You can view the decisions made by clicking on the links in the table below.


Document Title



No RQ's Currently Available