The man hired by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to review the effects of oil exploration in part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence didn't realize his work had been terminated.

The C-NLOPB hired Bernard Richard, a former New Brunswick Liberal leader, to examine a drilling plan for the Old Harry area.

Richard said, in the fall of 2011, he started preparing for public consultations in five provinces.

Several months later he said he was told the review was on hold.

In February 2012, the board issued a news released saying the review was terminated.

Found out much later

Even though the release  was posted on the board's web site, Richard said he didn't find out the review was cancelled until much later.

"I learned that the process was definitely terminated when a former colleague wrote to say, 'I noticed on the board's web site that your review has been terminated,'" said Richard.

"Certainly it was news to me. I've had absolutely no contact with the board since the spring of last year."

The C-NLOPB said the review was terminated so that a strategic environmental assessment could be done on the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence.