Using Strategic Environmental Assessments to Guide Oil and Gas Exploration Decisions in the Beaufort Sea: Lessons Learned from Atlantic Canada
Strategic Environmental Assessments
Arctic Council guidelines
SubjectCanadian Arctic oil and gas reserves
Canadian Beaufort Sea
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AbstractThe 21st century has seen a renewed interest in developing Canadian Arctic oil and gas reserves. Historically, hydrocarbon development efforts focused on land or shallow water hydrocarbon potential. Since 2008 the industry has shifted its attention to the deepwater areas of the Canadian Beaufort Sea — a region that to date has experienced limited exploration and no development. In the wake of the huge Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) initiated a public Review of Offshore Drilling in the Canadian Arctic to ensure the regulatory system was prepared to handle the unique challenges of Arctic drilling. There was no similar examination of the adequacy and appropriateness of Canada's Arctic oil and gas rights issuance process. In this paper we argue that a key weakness in the current procedure is the failure of the government to apply state of the art Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) as part of deciding where and when to open new areas to potential oil and gas drilling activities.
Joint Occasional Paper with the Canadian Institute of Resources Law, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary and the East Coast Environmental Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University - CIRL Occasional Paper #39 / ECELAW Occasional Paper #3