The Sable Offshore Energy Project was abandoned in 2018, meaning Nova Scotia is no longer a gas producer. Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board

The federal Liberal government, combined with the Progressive Conservative Nova Scotia government, killed another oil and gas project on Dec. 4, one that already had regulatory approval, in the name of “clean energy.”

But that approval, by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, was suspended on Nov. 2 by federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, in order to 

Nova Scotia had made a name for itself as a natural gas producer near the turn of the century, with Sable Island gas flowing to the mainland via undersea pipeline, across the Maritimes and into New England. But the gas production waned, and by 2018, production at ExxonMobil’s Sable Offshore Energy Project as well as Encana’s Deep Panuke were terminated. 

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As the joint statement, reproduced verbatim below from the Nova Scotia and federal ministers responsible, clearly indicates they see no future in approving any offshore petroleum projects, the ministers indicate the regulatory board will transition to approving “clean” projects like offshore wind, just as several offshore wind projects off the American East Coast have been recently cancelled

The following is a joint statement from Tory Rushton, Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables, and Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Energy and Natural Resources:

Today, we notified the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board of our shared decision to veto the fundamental decision to issue Exploration Licence 2437. This licence would have provided Inceptio Limited the exclusive right to explore, subject to regulatory authorization, in a shallow water parcel on the Sable Bank of the Scotian Shelf.

This step comes after our decision on November 2 to suspend the board’s fundamental decision to issue this exploration licence, which allowed our two governments to take the time needed to further engage with stakeholders and the board about this matter.

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We recognize the expertise of the board and want to reiterate our confidence in the regulatory process that it undertook. However, we both agree that this decision must also account for broader policy considerations, including our shared commitments to advance clean energy and pursue economic opportunities in the clean energy sector, which are beyond the scope of the board’s regulatory purview. This decision will enable us to research and understand the interactions between the two industries as we transition to our clean energy future.

Leveraging the experience of the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board as a world class regulator, Canada and Nova Scotia are actively pursuing the establishment of a joint regulatory regime for offshore renewable energy by amending the Atlantic Accord Acts to expand the board’s mandate so that it can regulate and enable the development of an offshore wind sector in Nova Scotia.

This will ensure that Nova Scotians can seize the economic benefits associated with the energy transition, including the projected $1-trillion global market opportunity for offshore wind.

Together, our governments look forward to advancing amendments to the Atlantic Accord Acts through Bill C-49 and establishing a thriving clean energy sector in Nova Scotia that will contribute to the growing demand for clean electricity, support the growth of clean hydrogen production and create sustainable jobs.

 

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