Nfld. & Labrador

Oil seepages not a cause for alarm, Shoal Point CEO argues

The head of a company hoping to drill for oil on Newfoundland's west coast says he is surprised that people have been upset about recent seepages that opponents have linked to an abandoned well.

Resource development on west coast focus at energy forum

Mark Jarvis, CEO of Shoal Point Energy, says he's surprised oil seepage in the Port au Port Bay area has become a point of contention. (CBC)

The head of a company hoping to drill for oil on Newfoundland's west coast says he is surprised that people have been upset about recent seepages that opponents have linked to an abandoned well. 

Mark Jarvis, the chief executive officer of Shoal Point Energy, said naturally occurring seeps have been a fact of life for decades in the area of the Port au Port Peninsula, near the bay where Shoal Point would like one day to drill. 

"These seeps have been going on since time immemorial, and so I was surprised frankly to hear that there was any controversy about this because it's been going on for so long," said Jarvis.

What the controversy really comes down to is people who are against development- Mark Jarvis

Shoal Point Energy and another company, Black Spruce Exploration, ​discussed their plans Wednesday at an energy symposium in Corner Brook.

Anti-fracking groups are hoping that the Newfoundland and Labrador government will make the moratorium permanent. 

"What the controversy really comes down to is people who are against development," said Jarvis.

"They'll say, 'We want to preserve everything the way it is for our grandchildren,' and those on the other side will say, 'Well, your grandchildren aren't going to stay here because there's no jobs.'"

David Murray, CEO of Black Spruce Exploration, says an exploratory project near Lark Harbour could help create jobs in the region.

Black Spruce Exploration says it's in the business of creating jobs as well, but the company has avoided fracking for now and hopes to drill an exploratory well near Lark Harbour.

CEO David Murray said the $3-million project would collect core samples in the rock, and could create jobs in the region.

"Any of the safety has to be provided on shore, you have to have a helicopter on standby for any of these types of things, you have to have meals and other things," said Murray.

Black Spruce hoping to complete phase one of its exploration program later this year.

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