Environmental Research

Although the Board's mandate does not include the direct funding of research, its staff participate in a number of research-related initiatives, including Program on Energy Research and Development (PERD).

PERD is a federal, interdepartmental program operated by Natural Resources Canada that directly funds 40 per cent of all non-nuclear energy research and development conducted in Canada by the federal and provincial governments, and that is concerned with all aspects of non-nuclear energy supply and use. Board staff participate in two national advisory committees formed under PERD R&D Strategy 1 ("Diversifying Canada's Oil and Gas") that in 2000-2001 represented approximately $ 3.7 million of PERD R&D funding:

The "Offshore Environmental Factors" committee, whose R&D objective is to determine offshore environmental factors for regulatory, design, safety, and economic purposes, including:

  • wind and wave-hindcasting and forecasting;
  • sea ice and iceberg detection and forecasting;
  • ocean current measurements and circulation modelling;
  • ice-structure interaction research and standard setting;
  • seabed stability research and development; and
  • basin assessment research.

The "Regulatory Requirements for Offshore Drilling and Production Wastes, Assessment of Cumulative Effects, and Remediation of Accidental Offshore Discharge and Spills", whose research activities include the effects of drilling wastes and of produced water, and the remediation of accidental offshore discharges and spills.

The Environmental Studies Research Funds (ESRF) is a research program that sponsors environmental and social studies designed to assist in the decision making process related to oil and gas exploration and development on Canada's frontier lands. The ESRF program, initiated in 1983, receives its legislative mandate through the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. Funding for the ESRF is provided through levies on frontier lands (including the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area) paid by interest holders such as oil and gas companies. The ESRF is administered by a small secretariat that resides in the National Energy Board office in Calgary, Alberta and is directed by a joint government/industry/public Management Board. The C-NLOPB's Manager of Environmental Affairs currently is a member of this Board.

The ESRF from time to time publishes ESRF Update to inform interested parties of the operations of the fund, and issues Requests for Proposal for individual studies that are deemed necessary.