Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

Atlantic Canada Offshore Petroleum Exploration Rights Permitting Study

Subject Category: Other

End Date: Nov 2005
Institution / Organization: Stantec (formerly Jacques Whitford)

Since offshore oil and gas exploration began in Atlantic Canada in the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of kilometres of seismic lines have been shot and more than 300 exploration and production wells have been drilled. During the last decade the level of activity has increased sharply, which has been accompanied by an upsurge in the issuance of exploration licences.

This increased exploration has resulted in higher levels of concern among a number of those involved in marine activities such as fishing, aquaculture, tourism and marine transportation. These stakeholders expressed a belief that the current regulatory process is inadequate and that they are engaged too late to provide effective and timely input.

This $40,000 project examines the current processes for issuing petroleum exploration rights in Atlantic Canada and explores all aspects of the region's rights issuance process, including public involvement. The main components of the project are:

  • A review of Atlantic Canada's existing legislation, regulations and guidelines.
  • Interviews with over 40 key individuals to better understand their viewpoints and the issues they face.
  • A review of rights issuance activities in specific jurisdictions throughout the world, including interviews and case studies.
  • An analysis of the different processes used elsewhere compared to those in Atlantic Canada on a number of criteria.
  • A commentary on the utility of the existing Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador processes, including suggestions of potential alternatives


  • Final Report [PDF]

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