Nova Scotia

Premier to lead N.S. group at offshore conference in Texas

Premier Stephen McNeil says pipeline battles out west could be a business opportunity for this part of the province.

'We want to make sure that they know we’re open for business,' says Stephen McNeil

Premier Stephen McNeil will be part of the Nova Scotia delegation travelling to a major offshore conference next week in Houston, Texas. (CBC)

Premier Stephen McNeil says pipeline battles out west could be a business opportunity for this province.

McNeil, along with his principal secretary, the deputy energy minister and five other members of the Energy Department, will join 21 Nova Scotia private- and public-sector entities next week at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas.

The premier, who is attending the conference for the first time since he formed government in 2013, said there is "tremendous interest" in liquefied natural gas on the East Coast because of the challenges right now in British Columbia. That province's government is locked in a battle with the federal government right now about the future of pipelines to the B.C. coast.

Trying to attract business

"Part of the issue is gas companies realize we have capacity now currently in pipelines that are coming across the country," McNeil said in a telephone interview. "We want them to look at making contracts for the two LNG plants that are here."

There are currently two proposals for LNG terminals in Nova Scotia, one at Goldboro in Guysborough County and one at Bear Head by the Strait of Canso. With offshore production winding down at Deep Panuke and Sable, McNeil is keen to drum up more business for the province.

"We want to make sure that if there's natural gas or oil off our coast, we maximize the value in the most environmentally friendly way for the benefit of Nova Scotians," he said.

To that end, McNeil said the conference in Houston is the place where he can meet with most of the major players in the energy sector at one time. While there, he'll be speaking at an event where he'll promote the offshore opportunities of Nova Scotia, along with research that's happened off the coast.

Who else is going to Texas?

Although energy giant BP is preparing to drill an exploratory well for oil 300 kilometres off the province's coast, Shell abandoned two of its own in 2017. McNeil said his message to companies at the conference will be simple.

"We want to make sure that they know we're open for business and wanting them to look at activity here."

Along with the provincial government, the other Nova Scotia representatives at the conference are:

  • Alscott Air Systems Limited
  • Atlantic Towing Limited
  • Blue Water Group
  • Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board
  • Cox & Palmer
  • Dalhousie University
  • Fleetway Inc.
  • Halifax Partnership
  • Hawboldt Industries
  • I.H. Mathers
  • Municipality of the District of Guysborough
  • National
  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • Ocean Technology Council of Nova Scotia
  • Offshore Energy Research Association
  • Stantec Consulting
  • Strait of Canso Superport Corporation
  • Maritimes Energy Association
  • Terrapure Environmental
  • Waterford Energy Services/Waterford Subsea Inc.
  • Xeos Technologies Inc.

About the Author

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca