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CNOOC receives approval for Flemish Pass exploration drilling program

CNOOC receives approval for Flemish Pass exploration drilling program

CNOOC's proposed exploration drilling project offshore of Newfoundland and Labrador will be allowed to proceed, the federal government has announced - though it will be bound by a number of conditions throughout the project's lifespan.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson announced the decision following a thorough and science-based environmental assessment process concluding that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account.

"The Government of Canada is working with Canadians across the country to protect the environment and grow the economy. By evaluating projects based on sound science and Indigenous Knowledge, and putting in place legally-binding measures, we can protect our water and our air while supporting our communities," said Wilkinson.

CNOOC Petroleum North America ULC can now proceed with obtaining any additional authorizations and permits from federal departments as well as the Canadian-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

The project involves exploration drilling within two offshore Exploration Licences located in the Flemish Pass Basin, over 400 kilometres east of St. John's. According to figures provided by the proponent, 100 to 200 people would be working on the offshore drilling installation during operations with an equal or greater number of personnel also involved in support activities.

The Minister's Decision Statement establishes 101 legally-binding conditions the proponent must comply with throughout the life of the project. These conditions include measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migratory birds, the use of lands and resources by Indigenous peoples, and species at risk.

"We know how important the offshore is for the future of Newfoundland & Labrador. These exploration projects create good jobs, while ensuring the environment continues to be protected at the highest level"," said Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Natural Resources.

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