Offshore oil & gas research
Since 2002, my colleagues, students and I have tried to understand how the predictions in environmental impact assessments are assessed for offshore oil and gas extraction projects in NL. Our goal is to improve the environmental management of offshore production projects in the NW Atlantic through a critical examination of the policies related to this industry. The success of this goal depends upon accessing environmental data. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act (section 119) allows operators to decide what environmental data are publicly disclosed (see Fraser et al. 2006, Fraser and Ellis 2008b). The release of relevant environmental data has improved over time and using Access to Information requests, has permitted an examination of how offshore oil operators monitored and responded to small spills (Fraser and Racine 2016).
In 2019, we started a project that focuses on a fundamental decision point: the regulatory processes leading to decisions to permit exploratory offshore drilling, with a focus on in or near marine protected areas. We aim to assess these decision-making processes by drawing on comparative international cases that highlight how eastern Canadian offshore oil governance practices can be strengthened to permit more robust public engagement early in the development process and curtail subsequent political conflict.
Some of the NL work is in collaboration with the Alder Institute, a nonprofit organization in Newfoundland whose primary objective is to translate science into public knowledge.
Selected student oil and gas related projects:
Anuja Kapoor, Offshore Oil and Marine Protected Areas: Stakeholders, Conflicts and Future Directions in Nova Scotia, Canada (MES)
Tsubasa Morishita, Impacts of the two oil extraction methods on habitat fragmentation in Alberta Canada: literature review and GIS analysis (Senior Honours Work)
Vanessa Higgins, Oceanic Noise Pollution: Seismic Guidelines and Mitigation Measures for sea turtles (MES Major Paper)
Daniel Raisman, Public participation in environmental impact assessment: a look at oil and gas development projects (Senior Honours Work)