Position could be filled within 90 days
The provincial and federal governments have failed to agree on a new chair and CEO for the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB).
The two levels of government are now moving the decision to an independent panel.
"We are working with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador toward the appointment of a new, qualified full-time Chair and CEO," said federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver in a statement Thursday.
"The outcome of this independent selection process will be new leadership of the board that is based on merit and ability by early 2013."
As per the process outlined within the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, the federal government will be appointing one member of the three-person selection panel and the provincial government will appoint a second member - both within 30 days.
These two individuals decide on a chair for the selection panel.
The three will then undertake the task of selecting a new chair and CEO for the provincial offshore regulator and must make a selection within 60 days from the point all three are in place.
Max Ruelokke's six-year term as chairman and CEO of the CNLOPB ended Oct. 26.
The board was designed to sit with seven members, six plus a chairperson, but is currently making decisions with five people.
A provincial seat has been vacant for two years, while there has been no agreement between the provincial and federal governments on the new chair.
Board member Ed Drover has been sitting as acting chair, with Max Ruelokke staying on as acting CEO.
However, in his new position, Ruelokke does not vote on board decisions and, as of late, Drover, the acting board chair, has had to attend meetings by way of teleconference due to illness.
Quorum for the board is four people.
The CNLOPB has about 70 full-time staff members working on matters of safety, operations, environmental affairs, industrial benefits, exploration and resource management. However, the power of the regulator rests with its ruling board of government appointees.
The board is currently weighing issues including whether or not to allow nighttime helicopter flights to and from offshore installations and environmental considerations around drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.