News Releases 2008

C-NLOPB Responds To Journal Article

For Immediate Release
October 6, 2008

In recent weeks, an article, authored by Gail Fraser and Joanne Ellis, entitled “Offshore Hydrocarbon And Synthetic Hydrocarbon Spills In Eastern Canada: The Issue Of Follow-Up And Experience”, was published in the Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, Vol. 10, No. 2 (June 2008) pp. 173-187. Fraser and Ellis have discussed the work of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) in assessing the environmental effects of offshore projects and in follow-up activities associated with the occurrence of hydrocarbon spills of less than 50 barrels in volume.

On page 174, Fraser and Ellis outline the content of their paper:

  1. the accuracy of oil spill predictions in three offshore oil and gas Environmental Assessments (EAs)
  2. the Responsible Authorities’ response where projects exceeded predictions, and
  3. the evidence for whether local oil spill experience informed future EAs for four projects.

As the regulator of petroleum exploration and production activities in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area, the C-NLOPB has a duty to ensure that projects are properly assessed prior to their authorization, and that the operators of those projects conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the legislation and with the mitigation measures outlined in the project environmental assessment. We take this role very seriously and find it necessary to comment on the factual basis for some of the assertions made by Fraser and Ellis in the article. The C-NLOPB’s comments are outlined in detail in the attached letter to the Editor of the Journal.

In summary, with respect to the three points noted above, the C-NLOPB’s response is as follows:

  1. the forecasts of spill occurrence likelihood for the Terra Nova and White Rose projects were developed using the best data available at the time they were completed;
  2. the C-NLOPB’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy refers to the fact that we follow-up on all spills. The compliance and enforcement actions that follow will reflect the nature of the incident and the operator’s response; and
  3. contrary to Fraser and Ellis’s assertion, the C-NLOPB has required local spill occurrence information to be considered as part of subsequent environmental assessments.

The attached letter to the Editor of the Journal describes the C-NLOPB’s concerns with the authors’ interpretation of the information and the thoroughness of their investigation. The C-NLOPB is pleased that researchers are using its website and statistical information. However, they are advised to contact the Board as part of their research activity to gain a more thorough understanding of the information made available and the activities of the Board. The Board has written Dr. Fraser and Dr. Ellis and extended an invitation to both researchers to meet with C-NLOPB staff to discuss the issues raised in the article.

Letter to Mr. W. Sheate, Editor of the Journal



Sean Kelly APR
Manager, Public Relations
(709) 778-1418
(709) 689-0713 (cell)

News Releases 2008

2008, Dec 1C-NLOPB Releases Results of 2008 Call for Bids, NL08-3 and NL08-4 Sydney Basin and Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Region
2008, Nov 17C-NLOPB Releases Results of 2008 Call for Bids, NL08-1 and NL08-2 Central Ridge/Flemish Pass and Jeanne d’Arc Basin
2008, Oct 6C-NLOPB Responds To Journal Article
2008, Sep 11C-NLOPB Releases Results of 2007 Land Sale for Labrador Offshore Region (Call for Bids NL07-2)
2008, Aug 28Strategic Environmental Assessment Labrador Shelf Offshore Area Completed
2008, Jul 10C-NLOPB Releases 2007/08 Annual Report
2008, Jun 62008 CALLS FOR BIDS
2008, Apr 2Husky Energy’s North Amethyst Extension Approved by Governments
2008, Apr 2Husky Energy’s North Amethyst Extension Approved by Governments
2008, Mar 25Comments Invited on Draft Strategic Environmental Assessment Report for Labrador Shelf Offshore Area
2008, Feb 26C-NLOPB Responds to Auditor General’s Report
2008, Feb 5White Rose Development Plan Amendment SeaRose FPSO Modifications Withdrawn By Proponent
2008, Jan 17C-NLOPB announces Landmark as successful bidder for Digital Petroleum Data Management System