Shell wins $970-M land parcel off N.S.

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Shell Canada is being awarded multiple exploration licences for offshore Nova Scotia, after coming out on top in a land sale by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB).

The company successfully bid on four land parcels, offering to spend $970 million on exploration within the next six years.

"These new deepwater blocks represent an important addition to Shell's global exploration portfolio," stated David Lawrence, executive vice president, exploration and commercial, with Shell Upstream Americas.

Shell's bids stand, in total, as the highest amount ever received by the CNSOPB in a call for bids on exploration licences.

"The (CNSOPB) will proceed with issuing exploration licences effective March 1, 2012 to Shell Canada Limited for these parcels, pending final ministerial approval by both the federal and provincial governments," board CEO Stuart Pinks said in a news release Friday.

Shell will have to deposit 25 per cent of each of its four bids up front with the regulator.

The call for bids - for areas located about 200 kilometres off Southwest Nova Scotia - required bidders to have had experience in drilling to depths greater than 800 metres within the last 10 years.

The news of Shell's interest in the area has been welcomed by suppliers and energy sector players in the Maritimes.

"As an association representing businesses that provide goods and services to the energy industry, any time there is progress in one sector is good for our business," Maritimes Energy Association (formerly OTANS) chairman Joe ` said in a news release.

Meanwhile, executive director of the association, Barbara Pike, tipped her hat to the government for encouraging oil exploration off Nova Scotia, where gas has so far been king.

"The Nova Scotia government and the Department of Energy should be congratulated for investing in the Play Fairway Analysis that independently showed the super majors there is oil offshore Nova Scotia," she stated.

Over the last three years, the provincial government has invested $15 million, alongside investment from Nova Scotia's post-secondary institutions and the federal government, to create a 350-page atlas of the province's offshore area.

"We knew that lack of knowledge about the area's geology was a barrier to further exploration," Nova Scotia Energy minister Charlie Parker said Friday. "We invested in world-class research and committed to sharing our findings with oil and gas companies around the world. We're seeing the results of that investment today."

Premier Darrell Dexter has called the return of Shell Canada to the area an "important milestone" in reinvigorating interest in Nova Scotia's offshore.

Federally, both Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and the regional minister for Nova Scotia, Peter MacKay, applauded the deal.

According to the CNSOPB, no bids were received on four of the eight parcels of land included in the call for bids.

The board is accepting nominations for areas to be considered for offer in the next call for bids. That call is expected to be issued in May.



Shell Canada response to CNSOPB call for bids

Parcel 1 - $1,756,450

Parcel 2 - $303,078,225

Parcel 3 - $235,025,888

Parcel 4 - $430,139,437

Total - $970,000,000


Source: Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board

Offshore exploration licence areas recently offered for bids in Nova Scotia. Shell Canada has since been awarded rights to explore four of the eight land parcels (plots one through four).


Organizations: Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum BoardOffshore, Shell Canada, Shell Upstream Americas Maritimes Energy Association Department of Energy

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Pat
    January 22, 2012 - 09:40

    Environazi here- Oil spills leave communities that rely on fishing crushed. Compensation is rarely given to those who suffer from an oil spill, and the communities become abandoned.

    • Brett
      January 22, 2012 - 15:49

      Relying on fishing has left fishing communities crushed. Look forward for the next 100 years, how can the children of people in those communities compete with the children outside them? Fishing communities are being left behind, the days of not needing an education are gone, people need to see beyond their little town and become part of the world and compete within it. Those who don't are the ones who have been crushed leaving their communities dwindling and eventually abandoned.

  • Boswell's Johnson
    January 22, 2012 - 09:00

    Doowleb: Thanks for the laugh. What are you on, and can I have $20 worth?

  • Doowleb
    January 21, 2012 - 15:04

    3..2..1.. The environazis will be right along to block, obstruct, and delay. Welfare, EI recipients, unions etc. generally vote in leftists in order to ensure their continuing benefits. You know, If you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can always depend on Paul's vote. The environmental lobby are, by and large, all leftists. A successful economy fueled by oil would produce self sufficient middle class voters. Conservative voters. Thats why any and all attempts to boost our economy with natural resources must be stopped. It's about the environment you know. Ya right.

    • David
      January 22, 2012 - 14:31

      Give them credit...just like the separatists in Quebec, they have created their own jobs, their own industry, out of nothing! The environment industry is quite clearly becoming as organized and structured as any corporation ever was, and those within it that have the ambition and drive are busy climbing the same ladders to get the proverbial "corner offices"....I'm guessing such things as a blog with the greatest number of followers would qualify. And just like the very early days of traditional industry taking excessive advantage of labour, today's eco-corps abuse the naive ignorance of young people who follow and obey blindly. And just like the first martyrs who spoke out against the deceit of industry, and who attempted to organize protests against it, and were violently beaten down by the authorities, the eco-nazis employ the full backing of the media and politicians in "beating back" those who disagree as modern day witches and idiots. Pretty interesting, really.....and entertaining.

  • Darlene Young
    January 21, 2012 - 14:39

    Is Nova Scotia becoming the new Alberta. This and the Ship Building contract is sure to create lots of good jobs.Would be so nice to see the Maritimes getting an economy boost.