News release

New Offshore Agreement Encourages Development, Protects Environment

ENERGY--New Offshore Agreement Encourages Development, Protects Environment


New offshore energy projects developed in Nova Scotia can now use a more efficient approval process.

Energy Minister Cecil Clarke signed a memorandum of understanding with the federal government today, Feb. 18, to create the new regulatory approach.

"This agreement meets industry's concerns that our offshore approval processes are slow and inefficient," Mr. Clarke said. "It's a significant step toward meeting another of our energy strategy's objectives -- that is to encourage offshore development in an environmentally responsible, sustainable way."

The new agreement allows a proponent to file one set of documents for a development. The single application triggers all of the regulatory reviews the application must receive.

"This means the reviews happen at the same time, rather than one after the other, as was the case before," Mr. Clarke explained. "The result will be that our regulatory review times will be competitive with those in other offshore areas around the world, and that's a great incentive for development."

The agreement does not change any environmental performance standards that well developers must meet. "It will mean more effective public scrutiny of development applications," Mr. Clarke said, "because members of the public will now know that one set of comments will be seen and heard by all of the regulators."

The agreement involves the Nova Scotia departments of Energy and Environment and Labour, four federal departments, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. All are members of the Atlantic Energy Roundtable, which also has industry and labour membership. The Roundtable process led to the creation of the memorandum.

The Atlantic Energy Roundtable is meeting this weekend in Halifax.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A new federal-provincial agreement will encourage more offshore petroleum development.

Energy Minister Cecil Clarke says the agreement improves regulatory efficiency so that approval times are comparable with the rest of the world.

The new agreement means all regulators will examine applications at the same, instead of one after the other. It was developed through the Atlantic Energy Roundtable, which meets this weekend in Halifax.

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Contact:

John Perkins
Department of Energy 902-424-1757 E-mail:
amc            February 18, 2005        1:12 P.M.