Top News

Newfoundland and Labrador wants more oil, gas production

Premier Dwight Ball (left) speaks at an event Monday at The Rooms in St. John’s, while Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan looks on.
Premier Dwight Ball (left) speaks at an event Monday at The Rooms in St. John’s, while Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan looks on. - Kenn Oliver

Plan calls for commercial natural gas offshore by 2030

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador remains opposed to leaving some or all of the province’s oil and gas resources in the ground as a means of limiting future greenhouse gas emissions.

Provincial government representatives — joined by representatives from the federal government and oil industry — gathered Monday to instead announce plans to work toward greater production. “The Way Forward on Oil and Gas” calls for co-operative efforts to try to double offshore oil production and add local, commercial natural gas production by 2030.

Speaking to reporters at a launch event held at The Rooms in St. John’s, Premier Dwight Ball said support for the sector remains strong because of the opportunity oil and gas offers, “tremendous opportunity,” with oil still holding significant value.

“Are there people out there that’s looking for oil and gas? There are. We clearly know that. The move, the transition from where we are today with oil and gas, to green energy will take quite some time. So while that transition is occurring and taking place, the world will still need oil and gas,” he said.

Related stories:
The Way Forward — Oil and Gas

No N.L. carbon pricing details in 2017
Oil still king in N.L. (2015)

“That doesn’t mean that you would not do that (work) in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way. We also know that the oil and gas industry must find a way to green up, and in offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, we are doing a very good job of that already,” he said.

As part of listed long-term goals for the province, the government’s plan states the industry is to focus on introducing low-carbon technologies and operational processes, while the province begins to integrate renewables offshore.

The provincial Liberals have yet to clarify potential carbon pricing for the industry locally and it was not addressed at the event.

“The Way Forward on Oil and Gas” does make note of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, on the pricing of carbon pollution, as a potential risk to future investment. It’s noted alongside any general regulatory uncertainty, and how a levy applied under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea would apply to production outside of the 200 nautical mile limit.

The launch event for “The Way Forward on Oil and Gas” included a video message from federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, who mentioned greater use of renewable energy resources.

“This plan recognizes the world is in transition to a low-carbon future,” he said.

MP Seamus O’Regan spoke in support of the plan, the potential benefits of greater offshore investment and the need for a clear vision and regulatory certainty to attract the desired investment to eastern Canada.

He mentioned the recently announced, planned changes by the federal government to the environmental assessments for major projects.

“We understand the industry doesn’t want nor need surprises,” O’Regan said, adding he expects the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) will ultimately tackle review of proposed exploration wells under regulations to come in after changes in the legislation.

O’Regan said he expects the CNLOPB, part of all oil and gas project reviews, would also be part of reviewing renewable energy projects proposed for the offshore.

Recent Stories