The CNLOPB was created before there was a producing project offshore, before the Hibernia platform (seen here) was built. — File image
When the CNLOPB was created, it was melded from the Canada Oil and Gas Lands Administration with the provincial Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Directorate.
Responsibility for the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area was assumed by the CNLOPB on Jan. 6, 1986.
There were no producing projects and "the petroleum industry was entering a period of economic uncertainty due to rapidly falling world oil prices," according to original chairman, J.E. (Ted) Baugh, as noted in the first annual report.
Since then, the CNLOPB has become a model regulator - asked to offer information internationally on its creation and development to jurisdictions just beginning to develop an offshore oil and gas industry.
Among those who have asked for advice are Greenland and - more recently - Guyana and Suriname, which Ruelokke visited upon request for six days in November 2011.
- Read more special articles:
- Part 1: Inside the CNLOPB
- Part 2: Safety No. 1 priority
- Sidebar: Improving access to information
- Part 3: Aiming to avoid spills
In Canada, the CNLOPB and its sister board in Nova Scotia are the only offshore regulators, aside from the National Energy Board and its Arctic area. In mid-December, that board released its Arctic Offshore Drilling Review - a look into best practices for moving forward with offshore work in the North.
The report references current chairman and CEO Max Ruelokke and the CNLOPB's work on the Lona O-55 exploration well, drilled by Chevron in about 2.4 kilometres of water, days after the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We consider many of these steps to be best practice in terms of regulating offshore drilling," it stated.