Statement Article from  Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Archived - Minister of Environment's Statement on Recent Media Coverage of Shelburne Basin Venture Exploration Drilling Project

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

August 6, 2015 — Ottawa — Today the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq issued the following statement about the Shelburne Project:

I would like to take this opportunity to correct several erroneous reports circulating in the media regarding the Shelburne Basin Venture Exploration Drilling Project. First, let me be very clear, Shell Canada does not yet have approval to drill, nor has a time period been set for well capping if the project proceeds. As I outlined in my decision statement, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is responsible for providing regulatory approval of the project, and specific requirements related to emergency response planning will be considered as part of this process.

Major resource projects in Canada, such as the Shelburne Project, must undergo a rigorous environmental assessment process and meet strict regulatory standards that are among the highest in the world. In my decision statement of June 15, 2015, I set out 40 legally enforceable conditions for Shell Canada to follow if the project proceeds. These legally binding conditions are based on the assessment of the project by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which includes expert scientific advice from several federal departments.

My decision statement requires the proponent to take all reasonable measures to prevent accidents and malfunctions that may result in adverse environmental effects. Specifically, it must develop an Oil Spill Response Plan and a Well Containment Plan, which includes a Well Capping Plan and a Relief Well Contingency Plan. Prior to the project proceeding, these plans must be approved by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and they are legally required to include the immediate mobilization of primary and back-up capping stacks and associated equipment to the project area to stop the spill in the unlikely event of a blowout.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is an independent agency of the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia, which regulates petroleum activities in the Nova Scotia Offshore Area.  A requirement for a capping stack is one of many items that the Board will consider during its regulatory review. The Board will be focused on ensuring that Shell Canada will take all reasonable precautions to protect safety and the environment. The Board will evaluate the full complement of proposed response measures to ensure that they are able to appropriately mitigate the effects of any potential incident that might compromise safety or environmental protection. The Board is currently conducting an intensive regulatory review of the project and has not yet made a decision with respect to applications submitted for Shell Canada’s proposed drilling program.

More information about the environmental assessment of the project is available at:

For further information regarding the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board's regulatory process for this project, please refer to the following link:

- 30 -


Ted Laking
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment

Search for related information by keyword

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Nature and Environment

Date modified: