Offshore Drilling Not Worth the Risk

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Offshore Drilling Not Worth the Risk

Protect communities, fisheries, tourism and climate from Big Oil

Despite the well-documented need to rapidly move toward a renewable energy future, provincial and federal governments are continuing to support exploration for offshore oil and gas in Nova Scotian waters. BP (British Petroleum), the same company responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon disaster that saw 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled, the death of 11 workers and devastating consequences for local fisheries, economies and communities, recently conducted exploratory drilling off the southeast coast of Nova Scotia. Just 61 days after starting, BP reported a massive spill of synthetic drilling mud at their drilling site 50km from Sable Island National Park Reserve. Two seismic exploration projects will begin in 2019 - this practice has demonstrated health impacts on marine life from the tiniest plankton to the largest whales.

Not only is this the opposite direction we need to go in addressing climate change, it puts Nova Scotian waters, marine life and related good jobs at risk of a serious oil spill or the harmful impacts of seismic testing.

Recent accidents are a warning of the risks ahead

In June 2018, BP’s ultra-deepwater drilling project had a leak of 136,000 litres of synthetic drilling mud. The Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board’s (CNSOPB) investigation is ongoing, but the board’s initial assessment chalked the spill up to “mechanical failure.” In 2016, a Shell Canada ship faced harsh weather offshore of Nova Scotia while trying to drill an exploratory well and dropped two kilometres of pipe that landed a mere 12 metres from a wellhead. “If they had hit their own wellhead and if they had been at an oil-bearing site in terms of their drilling activity, they would have had a major disaster,” John Davis [Founder and Director, Clean Ocean Action Committee] told DeSmog Canada. “Nothing more than the luck of the draw allowed them to escape that. Nothing to do with their technical capabilities, nothing to do with their safety mechanisms – just plain luck.”