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Corridor Resources indefinitely suspends its offshore drilling in the Old Harry area of the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Halifax-based Council of Canadians organizer Angela Giles speaks against offshore oil and gas drilling in the Old Harry area, October 2012.

The Council of Canadians has opposed Halifax-based Corridor Resources Inc.’s plan to drill for oil and gas at the Old Harry site — a 17,401 hectare area situated about 100 kilometres off the southwest tip of Newfoundland and about 300 kilometres off the coast of Quebec in the Gulf of St. Lawrence — since November 2010.

Council of Canadians chairperson Leo Broderick has stated, “Old Harry is a very productive, diverse and important marine environment that is already under great stress from marine shipping, decades of over-fishing, land based pollution and now climate change. We do not need petroleum development in this area with its many environmental problems and the huge potential for an accident like the one in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Canadian Press now reports, “Corridor Resources Inc. says it has suspended exploratory work on the Old Harry project in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the foreseeable future. In a news release issued Monday, the company says it has completed a geotechnical analysis and has determined that it wouldn’t be ‘prudent’ to continue with additional capital spending, and as a result is suspending all further technical work and expenditures. The company says it now believes the prospect could be more ‘gas prone than oil prone’ and the overall quantities could be less than originally estimated.”

The company says, “Corridor has determined there is no longer a viable path to drilling an exploration well on the prospect before the current exploration licence on the Newfoundland side expires in January 2021.”

Our actions over the years have included:

  • launching an online petition against oil and gas drilling at the Old Harry site,

  • calling on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to declare a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,

  • participating in a silent march in favour of a moratorium as federal-provincial energy ministers met in Charlottetown,

  • issuing a statement of concern about the lack of public consultation,

  • denouncing numerous errors in the oil spill simulation submitted by Corridor for its exploration permit,

  • speaking at a media conference against offshore drilling at the Old Harry site,

  • expressing disappointment that Trudeau’s first Fisheries minister didn’t meet with opponents when he first visited Prince Edward Island,

  • opposing the Trudeau government’s approval of a four year extension of Corridor’s licence to conduct deepwater oil and gas exploration in the area,

  • noting that the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of the Tsilhqot’in title claim suggests consultation and consent is also needed for resource exploration in waters off the coast,

  • the PEI, South Shore, Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton chapters calling on the Trudeau government and the Government of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador to veto the licence issued to Corridor Resources by the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

The threat has not completely passed.

CBC notes, “The company plans to ask the Quebec and N.L. provincial governments as well as the federal government, to grant Corridor a new licence for the N.L. side of the structure and clarify the status on the Quebec side. If that is done, the company will continue to look for a partner for the project, [their media] release said.”

For numerous blogs over the past eight years on this issue, please click here.