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Last chance for public to comment on Newfoundland’s Bay du Nord offshore oil project

It’s the last chance for the public to comment on Equinor’s proposed Bay du Nord project in the Flemish Pass, off Newfoundland’s East Coast.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) announced Aug. 9 it is conducting an environmental assessment for the proposed project with a deadline of Sept. 8 for public comment.

Equinor (formerly Statoil Canada Ltd.) announced a $6.8 billion plan in 2018 to install and operate a floating offshore oil and gas production facility in the Flemish Pass, approximately 500 kilometres east of St. John’s in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Bay Du Nord Field project has an expected lifespan of 30 years, with the potential for additional wells and tie-backs to the production facility.

Last March the company shelved the project indefinitely, as COVID-19 infected the world and the markets for oil tumbled.

The Norwegian company said at the time that Bay du Nord remains an important part of its international project portfolio.

“The project will continue its planning based on an FPSO concept and will progress the ongoing evaluations of existing tenders. Equinor will develop an adjusted work program according to new timelines,” the company said in a press release.

Earlier this year Equinor closed its offices in Calgary to shift its entire Canadian operation to the East Coast, to operate out of an office in St. John’s.

In its recent second-quarter report, the company reported a profit of $1.94 billion, thanks to oil prices bouncing back to over $65 per barrel, from a 2020 low of less than $15/bbl.

Earlier this year the company revised its estimates of recoverable oil in the Bay du Nord field. Originally thought to hold 400 million barrels of oil, the reserve is now estimated at one billion barrels.

Project needs approval

Before any oil can be pumped, however, the project has to be approved by the federal environment department, involving a public consultation process.

The 237-page environmental assessment prepared by IAAC is now open for public review and comment.

The report outlines the potential impact of the project on the environment — including seabirds, whales and other marine mammals, fishing interests and marine traffic — as well as proposed mitigation measures and follow-up.

The Agency also invites comments on its proposed environmental conditions for the project.

The Agency notes that if these draft conditions are adopted, they would be legally binding on Equinor if the project is allowed to proceed.

There have already been several public and Indigenous consultations for the Bay Du Nord project.

This will be the final public comment opportunity in this process.

All comments received will be published online, as part of the project file.

For more information on the project, the review process and alternative means of submitting comments, visit the Agency’s website.

Source: Saltwire | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on August 10, 2021 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.