Government Accepts Agency's Recommendation on Bay du Nord Development Project, Subject to the Strongest Environmental GHG Condition Ever
April 6, 2022 — Ottawa — Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
Now more than ever, Canadians expect the Government of Canada to take action and promote innovative measures to combat climate change. We know that we can build a Canadian energy sector that is world-leading on environmental measures for today, and innovating for our clean future. Today, we have taken an important step in that direction.
Following a thorough and science-based environmental assessment conducted by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) over four years, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has agreed with the conclusions in the Agency's Environmental Assessment Report that determined the proposed Bay du Nord Development Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account. The project is therefore allowed to proceed with strict measures to protect the environment.
Today, a Decision Statement to this effect was issued under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).
The Decision Statement sets out 137 legally-binding conditions that the Norwegian company Equinor (the proponent) must comply with throughout the life of the project, which is approximately 500 kilometres east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. These conditions include requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, species at risk, air quality, human health and Indigenous peoples' use of resources. For the first time ever, a Decision Statement has also been issued requiring the proponent to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
In addition to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, Equinor is also legally-required to consider best available and new technologies to allow for the adaptive management of GHGs, as well as incorporate measures to reduce GHG emissions in the design of the project. The proponent will be responsible for reporting to Environment and Climate Change Canada and to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) on how these measures will be incorporated into the final project design. At five times less emissions intensive than the average Canadian oil and gas project, and ten times less than the average project in the oil sands, the Bay du Nord Development Project is an example of how Canada can chart a path forward on producing energy at the lowest possible emissions intensity while looking to a net-zero future.
The Bay du Nord Development Project fits within the Government's plan to reach an overall 40 percent reduction in emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030, as laid out in the Emissions Reduction Plan. It also fits within a projected sectoral emissions reduction contribution of a little over 30 percent from 2005 levels from the oil and gas sector, as the Government moves forward on capping and cutting oil and gas sector emissions.
As per the Impact Assessment Act, the C-NLOPB will be responsible for enforcing the conditions in the Decision Statement. Failure by the proponent to comply with these conditions is a violation of federal law.
Going forward, Equinor can now proceed with obtaining any other necessary authorizations and permits from federal departments as well as the C-NLOPB.
This Decision Statement comes after Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced an intent to expand the mandate of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore energy regime to include the development of renewable energy such as offshore wind and clean hydrogen.
"The federal government concurs with the recommendation of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. As a result, the Bay du Nord Development Project may proceed, subject to some of the strongest environmental conditions ever, including the historic requirement for an oil and gas project to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The project has undergone a robust federal environmental assessment and scrutiny through every part of Canada's legislated review process. As the demand for oil and gas falls throughout the coming decades, it will be more important than ever that Canadian projects are running at the best-in-class, low-emissions performance to play a competitive role."
— The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Equinor Canada Limited is proposing to develop the Bay du Nord field into an offshore oil production project located in the Flemish Pass, approximately 500 kilometres east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Equinor, the company that will operate the Bay du Nord Development Project, estimates that the project will emit as little as 8kgCO2 per bbl of production, compared to the average oil sands emissions of 80kgCO2/bbl and the overall Canadian average of 40kgCO2/bbl.
According to figures provided by the proponent, the project will contribute an estimated $3.5 billion in government revenue, contribute to research and development, as well as new technology to increase the local supply capacity.
The Bay du Nord Development Project is the first offshore oil and gas production project to complete a federal environmental assessment process under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). While the project is the first offshore oilfield production project assessed under CEAA 2012, it would be the province's fifth of its kind and a major contributor to the economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Government of Canada would like to thank all participants for their invaluable comments received throughout the environmental assessment process. Over a hundred comments were submitted and considered, with participants contributing local knowledge and expertise, and working with the Agency to review information, address issues, review potential mitigation measures, and provide input on the project's monitoring and follow-up requirements.
Experts from many federal departments participated in the process by providing robust scientific advice and technical expertise throughout the project's review. These departments include: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada and Health Canada.
Consultations with Indigenous communities throughout the environmental assessment were extensive, with 42 groups participating in the process. A total of $304,154.00 of funding was allocated to support Indigenous participation in the various steps of the review.
- Minister's Environmental Assessment Decision Statement (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
- Environmental Assessment Report (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
- Bay du Nord Development Project (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
- Basics of Environmental Assessment (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada)
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
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