ARCHIVED – Chevron Canada Limited – Exploration License EL 481 – Same Season Relief Well Technical Proceeding

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Project Information

  • The NEB’s Same Season Relief Well (SSRW) Policy is that the applicant must demonstrate the capability to kill an out-of-control well during the same drilling season. The intended outcome of the Policy is to minimize harmful impacts on the environment. As stated in the Board’s Review of Offshore Drilling the Canadian Arctic, an applicant wishing to depart from the SSRW Policy would have to demonstrate how they would meet or exceed the intended outcome of the Policy.
  • Chevron Canada Limited (Chevron) holds an exploratory license (EL) in the Beaufort Sea (EL 481), approximately 250 km NW of Tuktoyaktuk. The company has indicated an interest in drilling an exploration well by 2020 (the Project).
  • On May 8, 2014 Chevron requested that the NEB consider its drilling application in two stages. As proposed, Phase 1 would provide an advance ruling on whether Chevron’s well control system is “equivalent” to SSRW capability. Phase 2 would involve detailed applications for drilling authorizations pursuant to the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
  • Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (IORVL) filed a similar request with the Board on April 24.
  • On July 11 the Board decided to conduct a review process to determine whether the well control system proposed by Chevron meets or exceeds the intended outcome of the NEB’s SSRW Policy.
  • On December 17, 2014 Chevron Canada Limited (Chevron) informed the NEB that due to a number of factors, including the level of economic uncertainty in the Industry, Chevron has put its drilling plans in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region on hold indefinitely. As a consequence, Chevron will not be proceeding with an application for an advance ruling on whether Chevron’s drilling plans meet or exceed the intended outcome of the Board’s Same Season Relief Well (“SSRW”) requirement.

News / Updates

  • 2014-12-17
    Letter from Chevron Canada Limited regarding Same Season Relief Well Process [Filing A65107]
  • 2014-09-04
    NEB Releases Revised List of Issues for SSRW Technical Proceedings
  • 2014-07-18
    The Board has extended the deadline to 15 August 2014 for the public to submit comments on the draft List of Issues for Chevron’s Same Season Relief Well advance ruling process.
  • 2014-07-11
    NEB to Review Proposals Related to Same Season Relief Well Policy
    • Letter to Chevron Canada Limited - Request for Staged Application Process [Filing A61669]
  • For all filings related to the project please see our Regulatory Document Index [Folder 2462314]

Regulatory Process

The Board determined it would be beneficial, early in the regulatory review process, to establish whether Chevron’s proposal would meet the intended outcome of the SSRW Policy, as it is a major element of the Project.

Any ruling at the conclusion of the SSRW technical proceeding will only address whether the intent of the SSRW Policy has been met or exceeded, not whether the Project would be authorized to proceed. Chevron would still need to file an application for an Operations Authorization (OA).

An OA can only be issued by the Board after considering a full Project application, and after:

  • reaching a decision about the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012; and
  • considering the recommendations of the Environmental Impact Review Board established under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

List of Issues

The following List of Issues reflects the Board’s views of what topics will be important to examine in detail during the technical proceeding. The List of Issues and the decision explaining how comments were considered can also be found in Filing A62632. This decision is in no way a predetermination of the merits of Chevron’s Project application.

  1. What criteria and risks should be considered in determining whether the intent of the SSRW Policy has been satisfied by the tools and techniques proposed to respond to an out-of-control well.
  2. How the tools and techniques proposed would meet the criteria and address risks in the circumstances of a worst case scenario.
  3. How the tools and techniques proposed would address the challenges of the unique Arctic environment.
  4. The terms and conditions, if any, that should be considered at the Project application stage if the departure from the SSRW Policy is granted.
  5. Implications of the Board accepting a departure from the SSRW Policy.

The Board does not intend to conduct an environmental assessment as part of this proceeding. An environmental assessment would be undertaken at the Project application stage.

Public Participation

The Board has not made any decisions on what the SSRW technical proceedings will look like at this stage. There will be an opportunity for public participation and details will be posted on this page as they become available.

All filings related to the Project can be found in our Regulatory Document Index [Folder 2462314]

The NEB will publish updates as required to keep interested parties informed of the latest developments in the regulatory process. If you are interested in receiving email updates sign up here:


  • FAQ - SSRW Technical Proceedings
  • Information about the NEB can be found here: Our regulatory mandate
  • FAQs about how the NEB regulates offshore drilling: Regulating offshore and onshore drilling

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