Report - Environmental Assessment Panel, Eastern Arctic Offshore Drilling - South Davis Strait project = Rapport - Commission d'évaluation environnementale. Forage hauturier dans l'est de l'Arctique (Sud du détroit de Davis)
Eastern Arctic Offshore Drilling - South Davis Strait Project Environmental Assessment Panel
[Ottawa : Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office, c1978].
1v (various pagings) : ill., map, figures ; 28cm.
(Report of the Environmental Assessment Panel, 6)
Bound with Guidelines for preparation of an environmental impact statement for Eastern Arctic offshore exploratory drilling. Fisheries and Environment Canada, Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office, 1978, 22p.
ASTIS record 1378.
Languages: English, French and Inuktitut
In the summer of 1976, a consortium of oil companies composed of Imperial Oil Limited, Aquitaine Company of Canada Limited, and Canada-Cities Service Limited presented a proposal to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (DINA) to conduct exploratory offshore drilling programs to test the sedimentary basin of southern Davis Strait for hydrocarbons. DINA stated that drilling in Davis Strait would not be permitted until a comprehensive environmental assessment had been conducted and that studies associated with this assessment be developed in consultation with local communities. The Proponent has been conducting environmental studies in southern Davis Strait area since 1976. The information collected formed the basis for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and supporting documentation. In late 1976, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs initiated a new program that integrated environmental studies for Eastern Arctic
offshore drilling proposals into one program known as the Eastern Arctic Marine Environmental Studies (EAMES). The EIS and supporting documentation were prepared by the oil company consortium and progressively submitted to DINA and FEARO in the first half of 1978. DINA identified information deficiencies in the EIS and the 1978 EAMES Program was designed to accommodate these. The Proponent proposes to drill exploratory wells commencing in 1979, to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of the prospective area. Drilling would take place during open water seasons in water depths ranging to 6,000 feet, utilizing dynamically-positioned drill ships or semi-submersible platforms. The exploratory drilling program, at this time, is planned to last two to three years. During the course of its review the Panel requested and received relevant information from a variety of sources. Public hearings were held at various communities on the southern part of Baffin
Island for the purpose of familiarizing the Panel with the local biological, physical and social environments. These hearings also provided an opportunity for the residents to express their views about the proposed project to the Panel. A two-day general public hearing followed in Frobisher Bay, where a more structured set of procedures was pursued to hear written and oral briefs presented to the Panel. Following the public hearings, the Panel developed a recommendation to the Minister of Environment on the project's acceptability. The Panel related the probability associated with a major oil well blowout against the impact it might have as a measure of the environmental risk of the project. Thus, the Panel recommends that the project be allowed to proceed as proposed, only if the following conditions meet the satisfaction of the relevant regulatory agencies. i) The Proponent's detailed oil spill contingency plan be developed and in place, six
months prior to the commencement of drilling. The effectiveness of the plan in carrying out control and clean-up response action for an oil well blowout should be demonstrated prior to the commencement of the drilling operation. ii) A government contingency plan be developed and in place prior to drilling that would delineate the responsibilities of all government agencies when oil spills occur in the Davis Strait area. iii) the Proponent is able to provide same-season relief well capability. iv) liability and compensation provisions under existing regulations be examined by responsible regulatory authorities to ensure their adequacy under current circumstances. v) the Proponent continue to carry out adequate information programs in order to explain the progress of the drilling program to the residents of south Baffin Island.