The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board announced on Saturday (April 7) that BP Canada is allowed to bring a drilling rig into Nova Scotia waters to start prep work for a planned exploration well approximately 330 kilometres from Halifax.
The weekend press release means BP is inching closer to the drilling a well off Nova Scotia’s coast. But it’s been a long journey.
The company acquired four exploration licences in a C-NSOPB 2012 call for bids.
In September of 2017 the Board officially received BP’s application to drill a single exploration well and has been reviewing it ever since.
The Board says it approved the moving of the rig, Seadrill’s West Aquarius, because BP has met all the regulatory requirements.
“Vessels and equipment, along with necessary plans and procedures, were appropriately reviewed to ensure that all preparatory activity will be conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner,” says Stuart Pinks, the Board’s CEO in the press release.
The exploration well will be drilled in water depth of 2,800 metres.
Now BP has to wait for the Board to issue an approval to drill a well.
How long will that take? The C-NSOPB will only say it will happen once the “comprehensive application review process is complete.”
If BP does get the OK to drill the well – Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, issued a decision in February saying the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and the project may proceed subject to other statutory approvals – it hopes to have better luck than Shell Canada did in Nova Scotia waters.
Perhaps BP is hoping the West Aquarius is a lucky charm of sorts. It was the rig Statoil used when it made the Bay du Nord and Harpoon discoveries in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Flemish Pass in 2013.
If it ever gets the green light from the Board to drill this well, BP would love to replicate some of Statoil’s success with the West Aquarius in another part of the North Atlantic.