OTC.10: New studies of Georges Bank potential do soon, says Nova Scotia Premier

In the near future, the Nova Scotia government faces a big decision with regard to offshore development – the Georges Bank on the Atlantic OCS, whose jurisdiction is shared by Canada and the United States.

Offshore Staff

HOUSTON -- In the near future, the Nova Scotia government faces a big decision with regard to offshore development – the Georges Bank on the Atlantic OCS, whose jurisdiction is shared by Canada and the United States.

Petroleum exploration and development on the Georges Bank has been banned by Canada since the 1980s, Darrell Dexter, Premier of Nova Scotia, told a press conference Tuesday at OTC 2010. But that moratorium is scheduled to expire at year’s end 2012.

And while the bank is a rich fishing reserve, it also overlies potentially large petroleum reserves, with estimates – 20 years old – of some 1 Bbbl of oil and more than 5 tcf of natural gas.

“The government needs to make a decision on whether to extend the ban or end it,” said Dexter. But to reach that decision, he added, lawmakers need to better understand the size of the potential resource.

Most of Canada’s offshore resource – about 250,000 sq mi – is underexplored, said Dexter, with only about 200 wells in provincial waters compared to 40,000 to 50,000 wells in the Gulf of Mexico.

Nova Scotia’s Energy Dept. has invested in geoscience to the tune of about $30 million, half of which will be spent on detailed play fairway analyses studies, with early results expected this fall, he pointed out. This includes shooting a new refraction line off the eastern coast of Cape Breton, running 400 km from the Scotian Shelf down the Scotian Slope to deeper water, with water depths increasing from 32 m to some 5,000 m. This will ultimately be combined with reprocessed refraction data from northwestern African Shelf areas, which reflect common geology.

Close cooperation between Nova Scotia and other eastern Canadian provinces with U.S. federal offshore agencies will be crucial to obtain a much more accurate, up to date picture on the entire Canadian shelf, said Dexter, particularly on the Georges Bank.
And soon.

05/04/2010

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