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Shell hoping for big returns in offshore oil exploration

CTV Atlantic
Published Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 7:10PM ADT

A company that pioneered exploration off Nova Scotia in the 1960s is back in a big way, but Shell isn’t interested in natural gas. It wants oil, and it plans on spending $970-million looking for it as part of the second largest exploration project in the world.

Today, Shell executive Erik Goodwin drew a sold out luncheon crowd to hear about the company’s offshore exploration plans, which were first announced in January.

“We really are bringing our best technology to this venture and bringing significant deepwater experience,” says Goodwin.

Goodwin made it clear the company is strictly looking for oil, not gas, and if it finds gas, it isn’t interested.

“If we were to find gas we’d have to take another look at it because the economics are so poor,” he says.

He explained a lot needs to be done between now and the summer of 2015 when Shell plans to begin drilling, because the water off Nova Scotia is deep at 1.5 to 3.5 kilometres.

The first step beginning next year is seismic, which he says has improved considerably over the years.

He also says salt and rock formations in the area look good, but warned that Nova Scotians should control their expectations.

“These ventures fail more often than they succeed.”

Despite the warning, it was all good news to members of the Maritime Energy Association who attended today’s luncheon.

“Offshore Nova Scotia needs this boost,” says Barry Clouter of CHC Helicopters. “There’s a lot of confidence in the room today.”

Goodwin says Shell will be opening an office in Halifax next year for the seismic program. He wouldn’t comment on where a sea base would be located for the drilling program.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Rick Grant


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