Canadian Manufacturing

$20-billion N.L. oil project riddled with holes

Commissioner said aspects of the the Hebron oil development application "are incomplete, withheld or not supported."

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—The proposed Hebron oil project off Newfoundland could generate $20 billion for the province over 30 years, says a public review that supports the development.

But Tuesday’s report from the Hebron Public Review Commission said the project’s safety policies and benefits should be improved.

Commissioner Miller Ayre told a news conference that aspects of the Hebron application “are incomplete, withheld or not supported.”

Such gaps should be filled as a condition of approval from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, said Ayre, who called for “significant improvements” to the development application, including the benefits plan, the socio-economic impact statement and the safety plan.

“Safety and, especially helicopter safety, should remain a top priority,” Ayre said.

The Transportation Safety Board has called for offshore helicopters that can run without oil in the main gearbox for 30 minutes, but regulations do not yet make that requirement.

The review makes 64 recommendations aimed at environmental protection, increasing local jobs and ensuring maximum benefits for the province. It was required before the province gives final approval for the offshore oil development.

The Hebron oilfield 350 kilometres east of St. John’s is estimated to hold up to 700 million barrels of oil.

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