Exploring offshore Nova Scotia
BP is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling programme within four exploration licences known as the Scotian Basin Exploration Project. Located approximately 300 kilometres offshore Nova Scotia, exploration drilling is expected to commence in 2018 pending regulatory approvals. BP holds a 50% interest in the ELs and is the operator of the exploration programme. Hess Canada holds a 50% interest in the ELs.
Exploring offshore Nova Scotia aligns with BP’s significant experience in the exploration and production of oil and gas offshore. Exploration is a critical activity to enable continued oil and gas discoveries to maintain production to meet global demand.
Exploration involves both seismic acquisition and drilling wells. Seismic surveys assist in locating potential hydrocarbon resources. In 2014, BP conducted a safe and successful 3D seismic programme of the lease area. The data collected allows geologists to estimate where potential hydrocarbons may reside but only drilling a well will confirm their presence.
During exploration drilling, information and samples are collected about the rocks and fluids (water, gas and oil) encountered by the well in order to determine the presence, nature and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resource.
As a key part of the environmental assessment process, BP submitted its environmental impact statement for an exploration drilling programme to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in late 2016. It describes the proposed activities and potential environmental and social impacts, and associated mitigations as part of those activities that will inform the conditions of how BP will operate.
All documents associated with this process are available on the CEAA website.
Planning and incident prevention
Safe operations are BP’s priority. The company’s goals are clear: no accidents, no harm to people and no damage to the environment.
Throughout the lifecycle of projects and operations, BP aims to manage and mitigate environmental impacts. Offshore exploration activity requires operators to submit an environmental protection plan to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) that will support appropriate management of statutory requirements, as well as conditions and commitments from the environmental assessment.
A robust and fully compliant incident response plan is being developed for the Scotian Basin Exploration Project, which will include consideration of the subsurface characteristics, the met-ocean and environmental conditions, infrastructure and supply chain. The plan will be submitted for review by the CNSOPB, which is responsible for approval of offshore projects in the region.
BP in the community
BP has been engaging with stakeholders and communities on the Scotian Basin Exploration Project since 2013. Listening and responding to concerns they may have about BP’s activities are an important part of obtaining and maintaining BP’s privilege to operate in Nova Scotia. BP will continue to provide information and opportunities for dialogue throughout the project planning phases.
Part of the environmental assessment process includes public participation opportunities throughout the process. Local and traditional knowledge about the Scotian Basin Exploration Project’s physical location aids in identifying and addressing potential environmental effects.