18 June 2015

Newfoundland forcing Quebec's hand on Old Harry #nlpoli

The Bay du Nord field is far offshore and far from development, Paul Davis’ optimism notwithstanding.

It’s way the hell offshore (about 500 kilometres),  way the hell under water (more than two kilometres) and then way the heck under the sea bed  (about another two kilometres).  It’s not going to be easy and it sure as heck isn't going to happen in less than five years.

Premier Paul Davis likely talked up the prospect of an agreement  to develop Bay du Nord because he needed something to say at the annual offshore development conference this week.

What’s curious, though, is that he never mentioned a far more interesting project that is far easier to develop.

It’s called Old Harry. Regular readers will know about Old Harry.  It’s a big field in the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the water is relatively shallow. Provincial government folks don’t seem to talk about it much.  Maybe that’s because it is partly inside waters claimed by Newfoundland and Labrador and partly inside waters that will fall under Quebec’s jurisdiction.

Quebec is busily trying to get a joint management agreement with Ottawa for the offshore similar to the ones Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia have.

According to La Presse,  Quebec energy minister Pierre Arcand told a group of experts last week that said that Quebec is working feverishly because Newfoundland is so-well advanced in its offshore knowledge that it is driving the prospect for development.
"The fundamental question that must be asked is do we leave Newfoundland to the exploitation [ of Old Harry while Quebec] will take all the risks …[and] not necessarily reap the benefits "?  [SRBP translation from the La Presse/LeSoleil story]
Arcand told Le Soleil that Quebec is determined to develop the project but the Newfoundlanders “are more advanced than us legally.”  Arcand said that, with current market conditions, hdid not believe that any companies were ready to develop Old Harry.  All the same,  Newfoundlanders “have expertise that we do not have. They have developed projects. They are enriched significantly over the last 20 years, with a project such as Hibernia.”