Canada's NEB to review northern drilling policy

Canada’s National Energy Board plans to review its policy on same-season relief-well capability for oil and natural gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea. NEB regulates drilling activities under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 11
-- Canada’s National Energy Board plans to review its policy on same-season relief-well capability for oil and natural gas drilling in the Beaufort Sea. NEB regulates drilling activities under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.

Same-season relief-well capability involves drilling a relief well in the same season that the original well was drilled. The practice is intended to help control a blowout and to reduce spills into the Arctic Ocean.

Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Ltd. applied to NEB on Oct. 23, 2009, for an advance ruling on its well-control plan for future drilling in the Beaufort Sea.

On Feb. 5, NEB said it cannot predetermine whether, or on what terms, it will grant an approval to drill a well. Therefore, the agency plans to review its policy for same-season relief-well capability.

Georgette Habib, NEB presiding panel member, said gathering more information and seeking opinions from the public will benefit both potential applicants and NEB, an independent federal agency that regulates several parts of Canada's energy industry.

Anyone interested in participating in the written hearing must register as a participant by Feb. 22. A technical conference for participants is planned, and more information on the hearing process can be found online at www.neb-one.gc.ca.

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