Nova Scotia

Shell Canada approved to resume drilling off Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia's offshore regulator has granted Shell Canada permission to resume drilling for oil and gas, following the stringent review of the company's safety practices.

Drilling ceased in March after a piece of equipment fell to the ocean floor

(Kongsberg Maritime AS)

Nova Scotia's offshore regulator has given Shell Canada permission to resume drilling the first of two exploratory wells, following an incident earlier this year which saw a two-kilometre-long pipe to fall to the ocean floor.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) said drilling can resume Wednesday, but Shell Canada faces new restrictions that will remain in place until the regulator completes further reviews.

Shell Canada's contracted drill ship, the Stena IceMAX, will now have to disconnect from the sub-sea well head once waves reach five metres in height. Previously, the limit was eight metres.

'Exhaustive review'

The company faced a "rigorous and exhaustive review of the incident," said Stuart Pinks, the regulator's CEO.

The regulator "sought and received assurance on a number of matters" including Shell Canada's equipment, procedures, training and risk management.

No one was injured and no well fluids or oil-based drilling fluids were spilled, the regulator said.

The CNSOPB is continuing to review the incident. It says no decisions have yet been made about the recovery of the riser that fell to the ocean floor.


Brett Ruskin


Brett Ruskin is a reporter and videojournalist covering everything from local breaking news to national issues. He's based in Halifax.