Following the Call for Nominations for Areas of Interest, announced in January, 2018, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has identified, under its scheduled land tenure system, Sector NL04-EN (described in the attached map and legal description) in the Eastern Newfoundland Region. This is the area in which a Call for Nominations (Parcels) will be announced in late summer 2019. Informed by those nominations, the Board will design parcels for a subsequent Call for Bids in early 2020, which will close in November 2020, pending Board approval and ratification by the federal and provincial governments. Any successful bidders would be awarded licences in early 2021.
Since 2013, sectors have been identified by the C-NLOPB at the beginning of the land tenure process so that governments, the oil and gas industry and other stakeholders will be aware of an anticipated call for bids area with a longer lead schedule, allowing additional time for exploration assessment, environmental and other considerations.
Offshore safety and environmental protection are paramount in all Board decisions. The C-NLOPB supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to the protection of environmentally significant and sensitive areas, and will continue to work closely with DFO and others in this regard. The Eastern Newfoundland Region was included in the Eastern Newfoundland Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) concluded by the C-NLOPB, with input from a multi-stakeholder working group in 2014. The SEA examined the environmental effects that may be associated with a plan, program or policy proposal, allowing for the incorporation of environmental considerations at the earliest stages of program planning. SEA involves a broader-scale environmental assessment (EA) that considers the larger ecological setting and consultation with a wide array of stakeholders. Further information on the Eastern Newfoundland SEA can be found here.
Sector NL04-EN overlaps in a limited manner with two fisheries closure areas, namely the Northeast Newfoundland Slope Marine Refuge and the Orphan Knoll Seamount closure area. On May 8, the C-NLOPB made a presentation to DFO’s National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards. In its presentation, the C-NLOPB noted that a fisheries protected area need not be off limits to human activity, provided that the conservation objectives of that area are respected, and that proper oversight, monitoring and post-activity assessment can demonstrate that this is so. Extensive monitoring and assessment, both during and after oil and gas activity occurs, has demonstrated that industry activity can and does occur in an environmentally responsible way.
Assessments of regional and/or site-specific issues will be completed before any work can begin within the licence area. The timing, spatial extent, and nature of proposed oil and gas activities, in addition to mitigations already prescribed by legislation, will determine the level of additional restriction or mitigation that may be required. The Board is also discussing with the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador potential new approaches to environmental assessments through a Regional Assessment of offshore exploratory drilling in Eastern Newfoundland.
For any lands entirely or partially beyond Canada’s 200 nautical mile zone, additional terms and conditions may be applied (e.g. through legislation, regulations, amendments to licences or otherwise) to any resulting licence from a Call for Bids in order to meet obligations arising pursuant to article 82 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Further detailed information about scheduled land tenure is available here.
Any parties interested in receiving email notifications on Scheduled Land Tenure related announcements can contact Shannon Bulger at email@example.com.
Senior Advisor, Regulatory Reform and Public Engagement
Stephanie Johnson, P.Geo
Director of Exploration and Information Resources (Acting)
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