Atlantic Energy Roundtable sets the stage for offshore energy investment

November 17, 2005

The Atlantic Energy Roundtable met in Ottawa to renew its commitment to building a strong, sustainable and environmentally sound future for the offshore oil and gas industry in Atlantic Canada.

The members of the Atlantic Energy Roundtable issued the following statement:

"The development of offshore oil and gas resources is important for the Atlantic provinces and for Canada. In less than a decade of production, the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador offshore industries have become an essential component of the economies of Atlantic Canada. These industries contribute thousands of direct and indirect jobs to the Atlantic region with recent yearly revenues totalling close to $7 billion. Governments, industry, regulators and labour leaders agreed to support and advance issues of common interest in areas that serve to attract investment for the exploration and development of Atlantic Canada's offshore resources.

"We are pleased with the announced amendments to regulations under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, whereby future offshore oil and gas exploratory drilling projects would be subject to a screening type of environmental assessment, rather than the current comprehensive study type of assessment.

"The Roundtable has accomplished a great deal. It has improved regulatory processes, reduced costs and increased awareness of business opportunities arising from the development of the industry, but more can be done. The Roundtable will build on its successes and continue efforts to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory system, develop and enhance local service and supply capabilities and competitiveness, and build industrial capacity and key technologies through focused research and development. The Roundtable remains committed to working together to ensure safety of operations, security of supply and protection of the environment, while serving the public's best interest in moving forward a vision of a sustainable energy future. We look forward to building on our successes and continuing this open and constructive dialogue."

The Roundtable has been meeting since 2002 and has been a catalyst for several key accomplishments, which include improvements to the regulatory system, directly reducing exploration and development costs, and developing programs to build and enhance industrial supply and service capability. This means shorter wait times for approvals without compromising safety or the environment, more opportunities for local suppliers and, overall, a more competitive investment environment.

Commitments made during today's session include the following:The industry was represented by operators and suppliers, labour and industry associations from across the region, including the Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association, the Offshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Representing the Government of Canada were the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of Natural Resources; the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment; the Honourable Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans; the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of Industry; and the Honourable Joe McGuire, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The Atlantic provinces were represented by the Honourable Edward J. Byrne, Minister of Natural Resources, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; the Honourable Cecil P. Clarke, Minister of Energy, Government of Nova Scotia; and the Honourable Bruce Fitch, Minister of Energy, Government of New Brunswick.
For more information, media may contact:
Ghyslain Charron
Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Tom Ormsby
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada

Carmel Turpin
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-5282 or 709-685-4624

John Perkins
Nova Scotia Department of Energy

Marc Belliveau
Director of Communications
Government of New Brunswick
506-476-2574 (cellular)

Paul McEachern
Managing Director
Offshore/Onshore Technologies
Association of Nova Scotia

Jill Fleming
Public Affairs Advisor, Atlantic Canada
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
709-685-4812 (cellular)

Heather Smith
Communications Manager
Newfoundland Ocean Industries Association

Gordon Harris
Senior Communications Advisor
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
613-957-0825 Media Relations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Natural Resources Canada

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