05 May 2009

Hebron deal: fixed research and development, backed by Province

What natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale said in March 2007 about the offshore regulatory board’s regulations for research and development spending:

“The board is only requiring these operators to spend in this province in accordance with what has been the average and accepted norms in the industry elsewhere.”

What she signed in August 2008:

5.9 (D)

The Proponents shall seek Board approval of its plan to invest a fixed amount of one hundred twenty million dollars ($120,000,000) in Research and Development during the life of the Hebron Project, and the Province shall advise the Board of its full support for such Research and Development plan as described in (A), (B) and (C) above as the entire amount of the Proponents’ Research and Development obligations in respect of the Hebron Project.

What she said in February 2009, when the oil companies lost their last bid to appeal the offshore board’s research and development rules:

“The Provincial Government has taken major steps to strengthen R&D planning and capacity in the province through initiatives outlined in our Energy Plan as well as through the creation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Research and Development Council,” said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. “The R&D guidelines complement these major initiatives.”

Maybe Kathy hadn’t read that thing she signed in 2008 since the fixed amount she agreed to back, is less than the offshore board’s r&d regulations would require.