Meeting Summary - 17 January 2011

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Monday
17 January 2011
8:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Freshwater Institute
Winnipeg, MB

Purpose: Introduce the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review to the Fisheries Joint Management Committe

Participants
Participants
Vic Gillman Chair
Burton Ayles Vice-Chair
Max Kotokak Sr. Inuvialuit Member
Stan Ruben Alternate Inuvialuit Member
Vernon Amos Alternate Inuvialuit Member
Mike Papst Canada Member
James Malone Fisheries Resource Specialist
Kayla Hansen-Craik Community Resource Specialist
Gaétan Caron Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NEB
David Hamilton Member, NEB
Bharat Dixit Technical Leader, Conservation of Resources, NEB
Susan Gudgeon Northern Coordinator, Arctic Offshore Drilling Review, NEB

Introductory Remarks (NEB):

  • An overview of the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review was provided, including the mandate of the NEB, the events leading up to the Review and the various phases of the Review.
  • The FJMC was asked "what questions do you need answers to prior to the NEB considering an application for offshore drilling?"

Dialogue with FJMC members:

In response to the question put forward, a number of areas of interest and concern were raised by FJMC members, including:

  1. Clarity of Mandate and Authority of the NEB with respect to offshore drilling:

    • NEB continues to oversee the safety of abandoned wells

  2. Community Meetings:

    • It would be helpful to have a condensed version of the calls for information that relates specifically to community concerns and focus on the ecosystem rather than inter-mixed with information of a purely technical nature
    • Being clear about the link between the activities associated with offshore drilling and other communities would be helpful - communities farther away from any actual drilling would still be affected
    • Be prepared to speak to what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico vs Beaufort and use a comparison in responding to questions
    • People are aware there is a lack of resources (i.e: boats to mobilize, etc.)

  3. Emergency Response and Preparedness:

    • FJMC wrote to the Minister (letter to Minister) regarding the state of preparedness in the Beaufort Sea following the Gulf of Mexico incident
    • What advances are there that the NEB is aware of with respect to same season relief wells
    • The infrastructure needs to be considered as what was there has either been removed or is falling apart

  4. General:

    • With respect to the standards for the oil and gas industry, where and how will they be changed
    • What is the scale of potential operations in the north - in other words, in comparison to the Gulf of Mexico or the east coast, would drilling operations in the Beaufort be considered small or large
    • What coordination/agreements are there with the United States with respect to potential sharing of infrastructure and aiding in the response should there be an incident in the Beaufort
    • The infrastructure support associated with the oil and gas industry (i.e: anchor fields, etc.) grows exponentially (Prudhoe Bay being an example)
    • Who is responsible to answer all the questions put forward and what are the triggers/mechanisms for doing this

  5. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • Based on a presentation from BP two years ago, the FJMC wrote to the Minister regarding its concern with the potential for oil to be flowing under the ice for a year or more
    • Don't think the ecosystem could recover from a spill
    • Given the number of wells there are in the Beaufort from the 1970's, the ongoing safety of the wells is of concern, particularly with respect to ice gouging in shallow waters

  6. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • There was over fishing one time and it took a long time to recover from that for subsistence harvesters
    • Need to establish how to recover fish stock (Arctic char, whitefish, large mammals) from an oil spill
    • Are there studies on recovery from oil spills
    • Need to be able to answer questions regarding marine mammals
    • If something does happen, will there be more priority on the animals or the recovery of oil

Concluding Remarks:

  • NEB will send a volume based response of the comparison of potential drilling in the Beaufort vs drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and on the east coast
  • NEB will be going to the communities within the ISR over the next two weeks to listen to people
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