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Bay du Nord will be NL’s last giant oil project, Steven Guilbeault suggests

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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This is illustrated by Stephen Gelbolt, who recently approved a project for Norwegian oil company EquinorThere is currently nothing to prevent the company from continuing to explore and develop the project.

However, he notes that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (EAEA) is not currently considering any new projects off Newfoundland. analysisCanadian Environmental Assessment Agency It could extend over four or five years, he points out.

The more we advance in time, the more unfavorable the conditions for oil projectsThe minister thought. Energy Canada said last December that Canadian fossil fuel production is expected to peak by 2032.

Stephen Gelbolt, the federal environment minister, gave his approval for the Baie du Nord project earlier this month.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito

He also notes that Ottawa aims to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. greenhouse gases of the oil sector by 31% compared to 2005 levels, adding that the Bay du Nord project was also evaluated according to the old environmental assessment process established by the Stephen Harper government.

The new system that we [les libéraux] Establishing a more stringent system from an assessment point of view, particularly with regard to the impacts of climate changehe argues. It would be very difficult for a new project to cross the line.

I don’t have to decide

However, the minister refuses to say that a new oil project off the coast of Newfoundland is impossible.

He has repeated the latter on several occasions since the approval of the Baie de Nord project that his government wants Depoliticization Environmental assessment of fossil fuel projects and recommendationsCanadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

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Again, it’s not up to me to decide. It is not up to the Minister, but it is up to the Environmental Assessment Agency to do its job […] Which will take four or five yearsStephen Gilbolt explains. I would like to tell you that in four or five years I will still be Minister of the Environment. I honestly doubt it. Then, it will be up to the minister at that time to decide whether or not this project is in the public interest.

Ottawa’s approval of the Bay du Nord project has angered many environmental groups, who have indicated that over a 30-year period, between 300 million and 1 billion barrels could be produced on the floating platform.

As the International Energy Agency did in 2021, the latest report from Intergovernmental panel on climate change He points out that oil-producing countries should abandon new projects now.

Project map.

According to Equinor, the field can produce at least 300 million barrels of crude oil over 30 years.

Photo: Radio Canada

However, Stephen Gelbolt’s decision represents an important victory for the regional liberal government, which can receive up to $3.5 billion in royalties thanks to the project.

The province, like the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, notes that advanced technology used in Bay du Nord, Newfoundland’s fifth offshore oil field, will allow the project to significantly reduce emissions associated with extraction.

The Bay du Nord project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2028. The facilities will be located on the high seas, 500 kilometers east of Saint-Jean.

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