EcoLog,  1/10/2020

Exploration ramps up in Flemish Pass Basin

by Mark Sabourin

CNOOC Petroleum North America ULC, a division of the Chinese state-owned CNOOC oil and gas giant, has been given federal environmental approval to conduct an exploration drilling project within two offshore exploration licences located in the Flemish Pass Basin, over 400 km east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The drilling will take place over eight years, commencing in 2020, and will allow CNOOC to determine the presence, nature and quantities of potential oil and natural gas.

The environmental assessment of the project was conducted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson determined that it was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. The approval comes with more than a hundred conditions to protect marine life, birds and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

CNOOC’s plans include drilling as many as five wells on each of the two exploration licences it holds. Work may also include vertical seismic profiling, well testing, eventual well decommissioning and abandonment or suspension activities, and associated supply and service activities delivered by already-approved third-party contractors.

CNOOC’s explorations are one of several projects in the Flemish Pass Basin that are either before the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada or that have recently been approved by it or its predecessor. Other projects include:

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