Our Call for Bids process is open and transparent. Our process provides individuals and companies with an opportunity to bid on parcels of Crown land and, if successful, be awarded an exploration licence. Exploration licence owners may subsequently apply to explore for oil and gas, but no activity can take place without our authorization.
Public Input Opportunity
To help us make informed decisions, we seek knowledge from local Indigenous communities and Nova Scotians once Call for Bids lands have been announced. Written comments submitted, and other information gathered, is taken into account in our decision-making process. For more information, check out our Engage section.
The Call for Bids Process
We administer the Call for Bids process in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area on behalf of the federal and provincial governments. The Call for Bids process takes into account input from across our organization from areas such as geoscience, environment, and lands management.
We publish a forecast map showing the offshore areas where we plan to conduct geological and/or resource management studies. This map informs the public, government and industry of the areas which our geoscience team is studying to enhance our understanding of the geology and potential oil and gas resources in our offshore area. Publication of the results of these studies enables those that access them to better understand the various offshore geological regions and the oil and gas resources that are believed to be located within these areas. The publication of these studies also assists interested parties in determining lands they may want to nominate to be included in a future Call for Bids.
To view our Call for Bids Forecast map, click here.
Anyone can nominate lands to be included in a Call for Bids. Nominated lands are fully evaluated from both a geological and environmental perspective before we decide whether they will be included in a Call for Bids. Our team looks at the nominated lands to identify any concerns and will recommend ways to avoid or mitigate any potential impacts. We review these nominations comprehensively, placing a high priority on identifying environmentally sensitive areas and fisheries concerns. We also consider water depth, proximity to infrastructure, possible oil and gas resources located on the nominated lands, and data availability. In doing so, we consult and collaborate with appropriate federal and provincial government agencies to receive public policy input.
Strategic Environmental Assessments
Call for Bids nominated lands must be evaluated from an environmental perspective by way of a Strategic Environmental Assessment. If an up-to-date Strategic Environmental Assessment is not already in place, such an assessment must be completed. A Strategic Environmental Assessment is a wide-ranging study that looks at the larger environmental setting and marine environment to identify potential environmental effects that may be associated with oil and gas activity, and the associated precautionary measures that would need to be considered.
To learn more about Strategic Environmental Assessments, click here.
Announcement and Closing of a Call for Bids
Once a Call for Bids is announced, individuals and companies may bid for a period of at least 120 days to obtain an exploration licence. Once a Call for Bids has closed, and should we receive any bids, we evaluate them based on the terms and conditions listed in the Call for Bids. The issuance of a Call for Bids and awarding of exploration licences are both subject to a federal and provincial ministerial review and approval process as set out in legislation.
To learn more about our licensing process, click here.
Exploration licences that may be issued as a result of a Call for Bids only grant the holder the right to make an application to explore the lands included within the licence area. Such an application would initiate our authorization review process. See our Activity Authorization page for a list of requirements that must be met in seeking an authorization to conduct activity in the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore area.
Call for Bids Cycle
Our Call for Bids cycle for the issuance of an exploration licence is typically as follows:
December 1 - Last day that nominations can be submitted for lands to be considered in the next Call for Bids.
Mid-April - Call for Bids lands typically announced, subject to a Fundamental Decision made by our Board members and reviewed by the federal Minister of Natural Resources and the provincial Minister of Energy and Mines.
Early November - Typical timeframe a Call for Bids closes, with bids to be received according to the deadline specified in the Call for Bids announcement.
January 15 - Exploration licences are typically issued to successful bidders at this time, subject to our licensing process and Fundamental Decisions made by our Board members and reviewed by the federal Minister of Natural Resources and the provincial Minister of Energy and Mines.