Feds return $430M to oil and gas companies ahead of Arctic offshore exploration ban
'Oil and gas future up here is very, very bleak,’ says Tuktoyaktuk mayor
The federal government returned $430 million in security deposits to oil and gas companies that committed to spend billions exploring the offshore in Canada's Beaufort Sea.
Five companies promised to spend nearly $1.9 billion doing exploration work in those deep waters — with Imperial Oil Ltd, Exxon Mobil, Chevron Canada and BP Canada pledging the vast majority.
To secure their rights to explore a total 1.4 million hectares of Arctic sea floor, the companies gave the government 25 per cent of the total amount they promised to spend carrying out the work.
In March 2019, the federal government returned the remainder of those deposits, roughly four months before freezing all offshore exploration in the Canadian Arctic. That followed a moratorium in 2016 on future offshore drilling in Arctic waters.
"It kind of puts the nail in the coffin," said Merven Gruben, mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.
"Oil and gas future up here is very, very bleak."