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Canadian Oil and Gas Companies Relinquish All Pacific Coast Permits

Canada is celebrating a milestone as oil and gas companies have now voluntarily relinquished the last remaining permits for oil and gas exploration and development off its Pacific Coast.

Canada has a federal moratorium on all offshore oil and gas activities on its West Coast in place since 1972, following a provincial moratorium by British Columbia on oil and gas drilling from 1959.

However, permits issued before 1972 were still valid.

Now that Chevron relinquished the last remaining oil and gas development permits offshore Western Canada, the country marks a milestone in protecting its environmentally-sensitive Pacific Coast and waters, Canada’s federal Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Chevron Canada said it had decided to voluntarily relinquish its 23 offshore oil and gas permits on Canada’s west coast.

“Chevron regularly evaluates its portfolio and has no plans to pursue development of these offshore permits, which are an estimated 5,900 square kilometres,” the Canadian unit of the U.S. supermajor said in early February.

Chevron remains “committed to safely and responsibly developing Canada’s onshore and offshore oil and gas resources,” the company added.

“With these final permits, Natural Resources Canada has officially secured the surrender of all 227 permits in the Pacific offshore,” Wilkinson said in a statement today carried by Reuters.

Last year, the other U.S. supermajor, ExxonMobil, gave up nine offshore oil and gas exploration permits it had held in British Columbia for more than 50 years. 

Several of Chevron and Exxon’s permits were in now-protected marine areas, according to the Canadian government.


Meanwhile, Canada’s oil producers in Alberta plan higher output for this year and expect to earn more from their heavy crude once the long-delayed expanded Trans Mountain Pipeline enters into service. Despite the uncertainty around the start date of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX), some of the biggest Canadian producers plan to boost production in Alberta’s oil sands in the short to medium term.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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