Government of Newfoundland and Labrador fails to fund offshore seismic program for 2022

January 06, 2022

ST JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND - The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is not allocating funding for the 2022 offshore seismic program and as such, the program will cease for this year. The Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association is disappointed with this decision and encourages the Provincial Government to reconsider for this year and to plan an offshore seismic program for 2023.

Charlene Johnson, Noia CEO said “A benefits study required by the seismic program proponents shows that in 2020 over 125 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were employed by the seismic program resulting in millions of dollars in wages, while an additional 45 other Canadians were also employed. As well, four Memorial University students received internship programs during the program. The seismic program generated approximately $17 million in spending in Newfoundland and Labrador and roughly $1.4 million in the rest of Canada. Examples of items included in this Newfoundland and Labrador spend are over $1 million for services such as medical care, mammal, seabird and weather monitoring, $685,500 for hotel accommodations, and $144,00 in freight storage and import/export. That is significant revenue lost to Noia members this year, including in rural areas of the province where a lot of the service and supply work for this program occurred. I call upon the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to keep its commitment to continuing the seismic program for this year and beyond. It is not too late to reverse this decision and continue a program that has provided significant benefits to our province.”

The current seismic program operated by PGS-TGS and coordinated by OilCo has been ongoing for over a decade offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. The program has produced leading geophysical data and has allowed significant understanding of the world-class prospectivity offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. The data available through the seismic program has led international companies to commit to over $4 billion in investment in the province.

Johnson said “This is disheartening news as just under a year ago, Premier Furey committed to Noia that the seismic program would continue. For that commitment to be broken already is significantly disappointing to our members and industry. Again, I ask Premier Furey to reconsider this decision, restart the offshore seismic program, continue the immediate benefits it provides, and continue with its  commitment to develop our abundant offshore natural resources for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”

The response from Premier Furey to Noia’s letter during the 2021 Provincial General Election can be found here. Along with committing to continue the seismic program, the response highlights the economic importance of the program as well as the spinoffs it generates for the province and the industry. The specific section of the letter about the offshore seismic campaign is available below:

“10. Will you commit to maintaining the offshore seismic survey program currently undertaken by the Government of NL through the Oil & Gas Corporation? Our government has worked hard to support geo-science and seismic work to reduce the risk and increase the attractiveness for the global industry to carry out exploration. Budget 2020 invested over $20 million in our seismic program because we recognize that a spin-off is greater exploration and greater investment. Decisions around economic development and environmental protection go hand in hand and must be based on good science. We are committed to continuing this program and working together to advance our resource industries.”

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