Operators are required to meet certain regulatory requirements before the Board can approve offshore petroleum related activities. The regulatory framework which governs offshore petroleum operations consists of the Accord Acts, its regulations, and Board guidelines and policies. The Board is also a Federal Authority under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and follows the environmental assessment process outlined in the CEAA. The Board's regulatory regime is based upon federal legislative models and regulations developed in consultation with other petroleum regulators in Canada and abroad. The regime is also very similar to that which exists in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area.
Before carrying out any work or activity in the offshore area, an operator must first obtain an Operating Licence which is valid for one fiscal year (April 1st to March 31st), and a work authorization from the Board.
Where an operator seeks an authorization to carry out any work or activity relating to developing a pool or field an operator must submit a Development Plan to the Board for approval. This requirement may be waived with the consent of both provincial and federal governments. The purpose of a Development Plan is to provide an overview of the proposed development and provide sufficient information so that the plan can be assessed by the Board to satisfy itself that the development can be undertaken safely, while protecting the environment and maximizing resource recovery. Information on filing requirements for Development Plans is contained in Guidelines on Plans and Authorizations Required for Development Projects.
Approval of a Development Plan by the CNSOPB does not grant a proponent authority to undertake any work in the offshore area. Therefore the details of these activities are not included in the Development Plan; they must be submitted when the application for approval of the actual activity is submitted.