For immediate release
11 July 2014
NEB to Review Proposals Related to Same Season Relief Well Policy
CALGARY - The National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) has decided to review separate proposals from Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (IORVL) and Chevron Canada Limited (Chevron) to determine if the proposals will meet the intended outcome of the NEB’s Same Season Relief Well (SSRW) Policy.
The Board’s SSRW Policy is that an applicant must demonstrate, in its Contingency Plan, the capability to drill a relief well to kill an out-of-control well during the same drilling season.
The intended outcome of the SSRW Policy is to minimize harmful impacts on the environment. An applicant wishing to depart from the NEB’s SSRW Policy must demonstrate how they would meet or exceed the intended outcome of the policy.
On April 24, 2014 IORVL requested that the NEB consider and provide a ruling on the approach IORVL will propose to meet the intended outcome of the NEB’s SSRW Policy in the context of its Beaufort Sea Exploration Joint Venture Drilling Program. IORVL has indicated that the proposed approach would not include plans for a SSRW.
On May 8, 2014 Chevron requested that the NEB consider its drilling application for exploration license EL 481 in two stages. Phase 1 would provide a ruling on whether Chevron’s well control system would meet the intent of the SSRW Policy. Phase 2 involves the detailed applications for drilling authorizations under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA).
After carefully considering the information submitted, the Board has decided to grant the two requests for review. The Board determined it would be beneficial, early in the regulatory review process, to establish whether the proposals would meet the intended outcome of the SSRW Policy, as it is a major element of both projects. There will be an opportunity for public participation in the review process.
An environmental assessment would be undertaken later, at the project application stage, under the COGOA and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. An environmental assessment will not be included as part of the SSRW proceedings.
The Board will examine each proposal on its own merits. For each proposal the Board has released a draft List of Issues for public comment. The public is requested to file comments for the IORVL proceeding and the Chevron proceeding separately. Comments should be filed with the Secretary of the Board, and a copy served on either IORVL or Chevron respectively, by 1 August 2014.
Additional information about the review process will be released by the Board in due course. For project updates, visit the Major Applications section of our website www.neb-one.gc.ca for links to both the IORVL and Chevron project web pages.
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada's energy industry with the safety of Canadians and protection of the environment as its top priority. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. For more information on the NEB and its mandate, please visit www.neb-one.gc.ca.
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