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Boundaries, physical restrictions announced for new Newfoundland and Labrador offshore sector

Projected calls for bids closing dates in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore areas. C-NLOPB image.
Projected calls for bids closing dates in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore areas. C-NLOPB image.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has issued the final design for a new Eastern Newfoundland Region Sector, which was announced as a general location on June 11, for future oil exploration in the province’s offshore.

A news release Wednesday notes the final sector design is fully contained within the general location that was referenced in June.

The call for nominations (parcels) for this sector is planned for late summer 2021. Informed by those nominations, stakeholder feedback, prospectivity and environmental considerations, the C-NLOPB will design parcels for a call for bids planned for issuance early in 2022 and closing that November, with successful bidders awarded new exploration licences in early 2023.

The release notes the proposed sector location overlaps areas of fish harvesting activity.

The C-NLOPB says it will continue to engage with fisheries stakeholders and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) throughout the land tenure process.

A portion of the proposed sector location also overlaps with the Northeast Newfoundland Slope Marine Refuge. The C-NLOPB is focused on the protection of environmentally significant and sensitive areas, the release notes, and will also continue to work closely with DFO and others in this regard.

Planning, monitoring and assessment of offshore petroleum activities will ensure they occur in an environmentally responsible way. Required regional and/or site-specific mitigation measures will be undertaken before any petroleum-related operations can begin within a licence area, as conditions of C-NLOPB approvals and authorizations. The timing, spatial extent, and nature of proposed oil and gas activities, in addition to mitigations already prescribed by legislation or regulation, will determine the level of restriction or mitigation that may be required.

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