Canada reviews arctic oil prospects

Dec. 16, 2011 at 7:41 AM
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OTTAWA, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Canadian officials said that, although there currently is no drilling in their arctic waters, energy companies must plan such projects right and transparently.

Canada's National Energy Board said in review of potential offshore drilling in arctic waters found that, in general, there was no consensus about how to handle a potential disaster like last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The root cause of most offshore accidents is the lack of a broadly shared safety culture," the NEB said in a statement. "In other words, people don't do what they are supposed to do."

During a review of public sentiment, the NEB determined residents in the northern arctic regions said that if energy companies want access to the region, they need to be mindful of the unique environment there.

Warming trends are melting arctic sea ice, exposing previously unreachable areas thought to hold oil and natural gas. The NEB said industry representatives were mindful of the environmental concerns and were committed to engaging the community if they plan to start work there.

The NEB added it was mindful of the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The NEB said that while a number of energy companies have exploration licenses for the region, there are no drilling applications before the board.

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