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Canada reviews arctic drilling safety

July 30, 2013 at 7:40 AM   |   Comments

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 30 (UPI) -- A Canadian energy regulator said the regulatory mechanisms are in place to ensure any future drilling in arctic waters is done with the environment in mind.

Roland George, a member of the Canadian National Energy Board, delivered an address at a conference in Anchorage, Alaska, on energy development in the arctic.

Warmer temperatures have left arctic waters free of ice for longer periods of time, exposing untapped oil and natural gas resources to explorers. Arctic campaigns off the coast of Alaska last year were complicated by a series of equipment problems.

George said during the Monday presentation $2 billion worth of work bid commitments are in place, but "no applications for operations authorizations have yet been submitted to the NEB for arctic offshore drilling."

He said no work would be permitted unless regulators are satisfied with safety mechanisms. The NEB reassessed regulations after the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2010.

The board's review found the tools are in place to protect the arctic environment. George said, however, the NEB's safety work "is never done."

NEB Chairman Gaetan Caron toured the shores of the Beaufort Sea last week as part of an environmental review.

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