BP Canada has been given the green light to start drilling off Nova Scotia’s coast.
On Saturday, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) granted approval for the company to begin drilling one deepwater exploration well about 300 kilometres offshore.
BP has applied to drill a total of four wells in the area, but Mi’kmaq communities have opposed the project saying it poses a serious risk to food, social and ceremonial fishing areas.
A spokesperson for the board said she’s not sure when BP will actually begin work. The approval announced Saturday is for BP’s Aspy D-11 exploration well, said Stacy O’Rourke.
She said the review process to get to this point is a “rigorous” one and that all regulatory requirements were met.
“We have granted the authorization today to commence the drilling operations, but really our work is just beginning,” said O’Rourke. “Part of that authorization is … doing monitoring and compliance throughout the duration of their project.”
The Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office told CBC News at the time that before drilling takes place, further government approvals and consultation are needed.
BP submitted a proposal to the board in September 2017. Environmental assessments were done for up to seven exploration wells, said O’Rourke, although they still require other levels of approval.
In February of this year, the federal government released a decision saying the project wasn’t likely to have a significant environmental impact.
Then on April 7, CNSOPB authorized BP to carry out “preparatory activities,” allowing the company to enter Nova Scotia waters.