Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited - Same Season Relief Well Technical Proceeding
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- The NEB’s Same Season Relief Well (SSRW) Policy is that the applicant must demonstrate the capability to kill an out-of-control well during the same drilling season. The intended outcome of the Policy is to minimize harmful impacts on the environment. As stated in the Board’s Review of Offshore Drilling the Canadian Arctic, an applicant wishing to depart from the SSRW Policy would have to demonstrate how they would meet or exceed the intended outcome of the Policy.
- Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (IORVL) is proposing the Beaufort Sea Exploration Joint Venture Drilling Program (the Project). In the fall of 2013, IORVL provided the NEB with a copy of its Project Description [PDF 19620 KB].
- The Project would take place within the waters of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. It would involve drilling one or more exploration wells on in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, approximately 175 km north-northwest of Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. If approved, drilling would occur in Exploration Licences (EL) 476 or EL 477, where water depths range from 60 to 1500 m.
- On April 24 the NEB received a letter from IORVL requesting the Board to consider and provide a ruling on its proposed approach to meeting the intended outcome of the NEB’s SSRW Policy.
- On May 8 the NEB received a similar request from Chevron Canada Limited (Chevron).
- On July 11 the Board granted IORVL’s request to provide a ruling on its proposed approach to meeting the intended outcome of the NEB’s SSRW Policy.
News / Updates
The Board determined it would be beneficial, early in the regulatory review process, to establish whether IORVL’s proposal would meet the intended outcome of the SSRW Policy, as it is a major element of the Project.
Any ruling at the conclusion of the SSRW technical proceeding will only address whether the intent of the SSRW Policy has been met or exceeded, not whether the Project would be authorized to proceed. IORVL would still need to file an application for an Operations Authorization (OA).
An OA can only be issued by the Board after considering a full Project application, and after:
- reaching a decision about the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012; and
- considering the recommendations of the Environmental Impact Review Board established under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.
List of Issues
The List of Issues reflects the Board’s views of what topics will be important to examine in detail during the technical proceedings. The List of Issues and the decision explaining how comments were considered can also be found in Filing A62631. This decision is in no way a predetermination of the merits of IORVL’s Project application.
- What criteria and risks should be considered in determining whether the intent of the SSRW Policy has been satisfied by the tools and techniques proposed to respond to an out-of-control well.
- How the tools and techniques proposed would meet the criteria and address risks in the circumstances of a worst case scenario.
- How the tools and techniques proposed would address the challenges of the unique Arctic environment.
- The terms and conditions, if any, that should be considered at the Project application stage if the departure from the SSRW Policy is granted.
- Implications of the Board accepting a departure from the SSRW Policy.
The Board does not intend to conduct an environmental assessment as part of this proceeding. An environmental assessment would be undertaken at the Project application stage.
The Board has not made any decisions on what the SSRW technical proceedings will look like at this stage. There will be an opportunity for public participation and details will be posted on this page as they become available.
All filings related to the Project can be found in our Regulatory Document Index [Folder 2454209]
The NEB will publish updates as required to keep interested parties informed of the latest developments in the regulatory process. If you are interested in receiving email updates sign up here: IORVL.Review@neb-one.gc.ca
If you have questions about the process please direct them to our Process Advisor: