The Supreme Court of Canada is refusing to hear a case brought by two oil companies about the millions of dollars they are required to spend on research and development.

Hibernia Management and Development, which runs the Hibernia field off Newfoundland's east coast, and Petro-Canada, the operator of the nearby Terra Nova field, had wanted the country's top court to wade into a dispute over research spending rules.

Under the terms set by a federal-provincial board, both companies are required to spend some of the revenues they earn from offshore oil on research and development, much of it based at Memorial University in St. John's.

The companies objected to the requirements set by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, and argued that the CNLOPB — which regulates the offshore oil industry — did not have jurisdiction in the matter.

Hibernia and Management and Development and Petro-Canada had previously lost similar challenges at Newfoundland Supreme Court's trial and appeals divisions.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application on Thursday.