BP Canada Energy Group ULC (BP Canada) was issued Exploration Licences 2431, 2432, 2433, 2434 in early 2013. In the summer of 2014, BP Canada received authorization from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to conduct a 3D Wide Azimuth seismic survey over this area. BP Canada acquired data over an area of approximately 7,752 km2 in water depths from approximately 100m-4000m.
The CNSOPB began reviewing information submitted by BP Canada in support of their planned drilling program in April 2017. An application for authorization to drill one deep-water exploration well approximately 330 kilometres from Halifax, and in approximately 2,800 metres of water depth, was officially submitted on September 21, 2017.
An environmental assessment (EA) of BP Canada’s Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project was conducted by the Canadian Environmental 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 is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and the project may proceed, subject to the granting of an authorization by the CNSOPB. The EA considers the drilling of up to seven exploration wells in total. Information pertaining to the environmental assessment may be found here.
Currently, BP Canada is proposing a one-well exploration program. For the drilling of this well, BP Canada is planning to use the Seadrill West Aquarius, a semi-submersible offshore drilling unit that is suited to the North Atlantic environment and deep-water depths. BP has indicated that it plans to begin drilling in Q2 2018, pending authorization from the CNSOPB.
As part of its review, the CNSOPB conducted a number of stakeholder engagement sessions. The CNSOPB plans to issue a report summarizing input received, and how it was factored into decision-making, pending the potential issuance of an authorization allowing the commencement of drilling operations.