ARCHIVED – Meeting Summary – 12 July 2011

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Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Information Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
12 July 2011 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Kitti Hall
Tuktoyaktuk, NT

Purpose: Phase 2 Information Meeting

Bharat Dixit Technical Leader, Exploration and Production, NEB
Pamela Romanchuk Environmental Specialist, NEB
Susan Gudgeon Northern Coordinator, NEB

Presentation (NEB):

National Energy Board staff gave a presentation providing an overview of:

  • the Board's role in the North
  • the scope of the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review
  • what has occurred to date including stakeholder meetings and information filed
  • where the Review is now at
  • what is coming up
  • funding

Questions and Comments:

The following questions and comments were posed:

  • Why isn't the line straight on the map between the Yukon and Alaska [boundary between Canada and the U.S. in the Beaufort Sea extending northward along 141 degrees West]?
  • In the yellow part on the map [slide 6], there are three different land claim areas. Maybe the boundaries should be shown.
  • Once devolution takes place are companies able to do whatever they choose and not have to answer to the NEB?
  • What kinds of agreements would there be with the US if there is a spill? Need to be prepared. The current will spread the oil quickly.
  • There are so many holes out there sooner or later a spill will happen. Need to be prepared.
  • Who appoints the Board Members and how are they chosen?
  • What legislation gives the NEB the force of law?
  • Does the NEB regulate the liability and does the government backstop the cost?
  • [Inuvialuit Regional Corporation] IRC has already given approval for the Benefits Plans and Exploratory Licences. From experience with private industry, once a contract is granted, small businesses are phased out.
  • NEB has been getting the information from the people at the local level.
  • NEB approved the last well on the basis that a relief well could be drilled but the whole time the rig was in Inuvik. Glad there have been changes.
  • Looking to use CO2 – if they use CO2 they will kill animals in that area.
  • When a company gets permission and makes a discovery when they find oil and close off the well after discovery, how secure is the well? Down there with salt water, how long can they be safe? If they find oil in next five years, production is a long way off. How safe are the wells?
  • If a company goes belly up, does the federal government pay?
  • A company showed a video of shearing. This was all simulated in a dry environment. Can they do this in the water? No satisfied this can be done.
  • Really pushing for same season relief well. The ocean is so large.
  • There was a lot of offshore drilling in the '70's and '80's. There were lots of close calls and near fatalities. Is this information available to the NEB? That drilling was not even close to multi-year ice. No human/safety technology that can withstand multi-year ice. Drill ships are like little ants in comparison.
  • This review is just to get prepared and then is each application reviewed on its own?
  • Has the NEB sat down face to face with the [Inuvialuit Regional Corporation] IRC?
  • Marine mammal observers need to be added to the wildlife and environmental monitors.
  • Wildlife and environmental monitors are being told what safety gear to wear. Right now the companies have wildlife monitors wearing rubber gloves. In the winter they are not allowed to wear their traditional clothing. [Inuvialuit Lands Administration] ILA is supplying monitors the majority of the time and should have a say. Contractors have their standards and if we don't meet them can't work.
  • Will [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] DFO be at the Roundtable?
  • Is the $300,000 participant funding?
  • There was mention that the Board is neutral. Will there be a [Canadian Environmental Assessment Act] CEAA process?
  • If the proponent doesn't have the money to respond to an accident, why would they get an approval?
  • Once the Gulf [of Mexico] spill happened there was a picture of the [Chief Executive Officer] CEO on a sailboat. That wasn't right.
  • We are paying for the Gulf [of Mexico] spill at the gas pumps.
  • Whoever gives approval is equally guilty if there is a spill. Everyone involved all the way up through the process from the [Hunters and Trappers Committee] HTCs up. The first is the NEB.
  • In the past year to a year and a half there has been talk about going offshore. IRC won't support this as there are only a handful of jobs but there are all different kinds of benefits. Small businesses are glad the IRC is not in charge.
  • NEB is listening better now than even three years ago. This is good for the Inuvialuit.
  • If there is a spill on the Canadian side, Canada is responsible. If the spill is on the US side, the US is responsible.
  • In the event there is a spill close to the border and Canadian standards are higher for clean up, does the US only have to follow their standards?
  • East and west currents will spread a spill more than on land.
  • Were the workshops with Imperial part of the drilling requirements? Will it be a requirement in the future? This generation was not here when the last drilling happened. The workshops should be done as it was an eye opener.
  • In the '70's and '80's there were long drawn out negotiations. Times are changing though drastically. Not as many families are spending time together going out on the land. IFA paved the way but things are different – have to buy groceries so need jobs. This is paving the way for future generations.
  • In five years it will be a different community if everything works as planned – road to Inuvik, oil and gas development, tourism.
  • Basically the NEB is looking at the first part (exploration). Looking at things today, Tuktoyaktuk is the only capable harbor.
  • Times are changing and values are changing. IFA is keeping the values but preparing the generations of today.
  • Everyone should understand there are two stages – exploration and production – some in the community are gung ho to do this but some still want to make sure the environment is protected. Some of our own people think money is all powerful and some can't afford to go get gas and go out to get a caribou.
  • Offshore is more sensitive then near shore.
  • Glad you are here and listening to us.
  • IFA was based on land use. Everything is a give and take. Need to know there is something down the road for our kids and their kids.
  • What is really important – proponents need to be able to pay for all the costs. It is not right that Canadians would have to pay.
  • Same season relief wells will be heard about a lot in Inuvik. Companies should know exactly what to expect.
  • Infrastructure is also important.
  • Main concern is liability – if companies can't prove that they have the money, don't give them approval.
  • The same season relief well issue is a big issue for all communities.
  • Don't know how it [same season relief well] can be done.
  • Never see small businesses come to meetings. The same thing in the past. Some come but some don't. They should be here.
  • If there is ever a blowout we will be the first out there to see where the oil is going.
  • How much oil was recovered from the Gulf [of Mexico] spill?
  • Are emergency response exercises just a table top exercise?
  • In the operations phase who would make sure companies are doing what they are supposed to?
  • It used to be shallow water but now it is going to be deep water for the drilling.
  • What about the ice and fog? How can the environment be protected with this?
  • The well was supposed to have relief capabilities. The relief capability equipment was sitting in Inuvik. The question is who is going to be there making sure what was said and what is happening is the same? They were supposed to be able to drive out on the ice and it wasn't there.
  • If wildlife and environmental monitors report to the NEB and not to the company won't need to worry about losing their jobs.
  • Dispersants are no good. Why do they want to use them? It is looking for trouble using them in harsh weather. It isn't clean, it is dirty. Need to watch what animals are eating. The best thing to use is a boom. Dispersants will make float away with the current and not fall to the bottom.
  • After the Roundtable, can the NEB come back and explain the Final Report?
  • From the last go round of drilling there were lots of tests on oil and ice. This should be information the NEB can use.
  • Those that go to the Roundtable should come back and report to the communities. Most of the time there is no feedback.
  • Why are we not being compensated for our time? You want our knowledge – some have more than others – and you want to know what we know and understand and have accumulated for generations. Don't realize that this is worth something. Our time is as valuable as your time.
  • Leave the ocean the way it is. There are other parts of the ocean that should remain untouched as well.
  • Last time companies started activities we had no say. Companies ganged up on us. Companies were given licences to explore without any say from us.
  • Economics and social side are not included but should be. There is an option to look at this under the [Inuvialuit Fnal Agreement] IFA. This was done for the Mackenzie Gas Project with the Joint Review Panel. This goes beyond the environment and should include the economics and social side.
  • Government of Canada isn't ready yet. They are giving out permits. What is the government's position if a company goes bankrupt?
  • What did generations get out of traditional knowledge they learned. The hope is that generations will be protected. This information should be worth compensation.
  • If the pipeline bursts are they prepared to clean it up fast? There is a fast current even though they try to contain it.
  • How much time is the Review going to take – is it a one shot deal?
  • Concerned for the Inuvialuit. You have education and computers.
  • Will companies be prepared if there is a spill. It will be disastrous for the Inuvialuit.
  • Do you need a public hearing for drilling 100 miles out?
  • There have been disasters in the middle of the ocean. It would be disastrous here.
  • Meetings in November or January/February would be better.

Concluding remarks:

  • NEB staff are available to assist in completing registration forms for the Roundtable as well as funding applications.
  • Copies of DVDs containing the information on the NEB Arctic Offshore Drilling Review website are available.
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