Meeting Summary - 24 November 2010 - Inuvialuit Regional Corporation boardroom, Inuvik, NT

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Wednesday
24 November 2010
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation boardroom
Inuvik, NT

Purpose: Introduce the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review to the IRC Board Members, and officially initiate Phase 1 (information gathering) activities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

Participants
Participants
Nellie Cournoyea Chair/CEO, IRC
Duane Smith Deputy Chair, IRC, Board member from Inuvik
Vince Teddy IRC Board member from Tuktoyaktuk
Carol Arey IRC Board member from Aklavik
Gilbert Thrasher IRC Board member from Paulatuk
Colin Okheena IRC Board member from Ulukhaktok
Beverly Amos IRC Board member from Sachs Harbour
Priscilla Haogak Observer from Sachs Harbour Community Corporation
Dennis Raddi Observer from Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation
Roger Connelly Chief Operating Officer, IRC
Gerry Roy Chief Legal Counsel, IRC
Peggy Jay Communication Advisor, IRC
Debbie Dillon Executive Assistant, IRC
Gaétan Caron Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NEB
David Hamilton Member, NEB
Brian Chambers Northern Advisor, NEB
Bharat Dixit Technical Leader, Conservation of Resources, NEB

Introductory Remarks (NEB):

  • Gaétan Caron provided an overview of the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review.
  • David Hamilton noted that it is important to recognize 'who does what' in the event of a spill, referring to Ms. Cournoyea';s letter to Minister Strahl on 18 May 2010.
  • Gaétan Caron concluded by asking the IRC Board "what questions do you need answers to prior to the NEB making its regulatory decision on an application for offshore drillin".

Dialogue with IRC Board members:

IRC Board members identified areas of interest and concern. These included:

  1. Safety of Offshore Drilling:

    • Any confidence that had been developed among ISR communities in industry';s ability to safely drill offshore was reset to 'square one'; by the Gulf of Mexico incident
    • People are critical about what happened in the Gulf of Mexico
    • In light of what happened in the Gulf of Mexico, people are concerned about the offshore drilling activities in Alaska and prospective drilling activities in the Canadian Beaufort Sea deep offshore.
    • NEB should provide clarity at the community sessions of its current expectations and requirements in relation to offshore drilling, including supply ships, transfer of people from shore to the drilling location, and while at the drill site
    • Are there any lessons to be learned from the regulators in the US as companies prepare for drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

  2. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • Ice cover and cold water creates their own issues that would make spill clean-up much harder than in the Gulf of Mexico
    • Proximity of (multi-year) ice has large impact of drilling operations
    • Workers from the south need to have familiarity with drilling operations in the Arctic conditions
    • Are there lessons to be learned from other circumpolar nations with experience in offshore drilling (Norway, e.g.) that would be relevant to the Canadian Arctic offshore
    • Status of artificial islands constructed in the 1980's that have now become submerged and constitute hazard to navigation

  3. Effectiveness of Emergency Response to Incidents:

    • Ensure that there is no spill (it never happens) and to minimize the effects if there is a spill
    • Even in the Gulf of Mexico, with all the infrastructure and open water conditions, there was an inability to deal with the spill and to drill a relief well in a timely fashion
    • Key is prevention and preparedness including strategically locating spill response and clean-up equipment locally
    • Importance of 'worst-case' scenario, as required under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, in determining the costs and effort required for clean-up and loss of harvesting opportunities
    • Need to address compensation package in the event of a spill

  4. Economics and Environmental Protection:

    • Recognition that people in the IRC are looking for economic benefits but not at any cost as the nearly half of their food comes from the ocean
    • Need to find the right balance - need jobs but not at any price

  5. Clarity of Roles, Terms and Consultation:

    • Clarity of role and expectations around drilling activities on Exploratory Licences issued by INAC in the recent past
    • Communities need to be heard on their issues and their concerns should be respected
    • NEB should expect to hear questions from IRC communities about industry practices and activities
    • Seeking clarity on what would be included in the 'offshore' (e.g., would inter-tidal areas be included)

Concluding Remarks:

  • IRC Chair and Members offered to assist and support the NEB as it plans and undertakes community engagement in the ISR.
  • Gaétan Caron observed that the NEB intends to share information, listen, and earn the respect of the ISR communities
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