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Petroleum News: Shell CEO: B.C. offshore can be developed

Shell Canada Chief Executive Officer Clive Mather gave one of the industry’s most upbeat assessments in recent years of the prospects for offshore oil and gas development in British Columbia.
He said there is no reason why the offshore can’t be exploited in a way that balances social, environmental and economic concerns.
However, he conceded to the Vancouver Board of Trade that despite tests indicating the “presence” of hydrocarbons, there is no proof of commercial accumulations of oil or gas.
What the tests did establish was the industry’s “ability to work safely and in an environmentally responsible manner” in the region, Mather said.
Shell calls for sustainable development
He argued that lifting moratoriums and allowing exploration and possibly development of the offshore can be done by applying the principles of sustainable development — that is balancing the social, environmental and economic.
Even if the federal and provincial bans are lifted that is no guarantee of early action, although it will “kick start the regulatory process” that includes tackling First Nations concerns which require claims settlements or cooperative agreements, he said.
In addition, ecosystem protection measures must be implemented to ensure areas of environmental significance are protected, Mather said.
Shell Canada, which drilled 14 unsuccessful wells in the 1960s, has expressed hope that technological advances since then can both provide an accurate reading on the region’s potential and reduce dangers to the environment. Petro-Canada and Chevron Canada are the other significant leaseholders.
—Gary Park

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