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Natural Resources
May 12, 2010

Consultant Retained for Review of Offshore Oil Spill Safety Practices

The Provincial Government today released the Terms of Reference for an assessment of the offshore oil spill prevention and response in place off Newfoundland and Labrador and named master mariner Captain Mark Turner, an expert in marine safety and environmental management, to immediately start the review.

"The oil industry around the world is watching the events unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico and what lessons can be learned from the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "Our government is acting responsibly to retain an expert in this area to review current industry practices and ensure the industry has the best possible prevention and response procedures in the world."

Premier Danny Williams committed last week to an independent review of the legislative and regulatory regimes, capabilities and practices in place in the province for prevention and remediation of oil spills.

The consultant will meet with the Department of Natural Resources to develop a work plan to complete the scope of work within 90 days. Captain Turner has over 30 years work experience encompassing a variety of direct marine, onshore and offshore oil and gas operations and project management positions, and he holds a number of technical certifications, including a Master of Science Degree in Maritime Law and Practice. He was formerly chief operating officer of North Atlantic Pipeline Partners and Newfoundland LNG Ltd.

"Safety and the protection of the environment are paramount in our offshore," said Minister Dunderdale. "We are closely monitoring the situation in the Gulf and we have had discussions with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board regarding industry operations here. At this point, we are satisfied with the level of environmental protection. At the same time, an independent review will help us ensure industry is doing everything it can to prevent and respond to any incident in the offshore."

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Media contact:
Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
709-729-5282, 690-8241
tracybarron@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER
Terms of Reference
Review of Offshore Oil Spill Prevention and Remediation
Requirements and Practices in Newfoundland and Labrador

Purpose
The Department of Natural Resources, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, has a requirement for an independent review of the legislative and regulatory regimes, capabilities and practices in place in the province directed toward prevention and remediation of oil spills in the province’s offshore.

The consultant will undertake the following tasks:
Review and report on the effectiveness of legislative and regulatory regimes, capabilities and practices in place to prevent an oil spill associated with an installation in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area;

Review and report on the effectiveness of legislative and regulatory regimes, capabilities and practices in place to respond to and remediate an oil spill in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area, including from ship sources involving tankers dedicated to the offshore industry or oil tanker traffic generally.

Include a comparison in these reviews to the requirements, capabilities and practices in other comparable jurisdictions internationally including Norway, the UK, Australia and the Gulf of Mexico.  The comparisons will take into account the physical environment in each of these jurisdictions.

Review and report on how the liability for costs of oil spill response and clean-up is determined and apportioned amongst relevant parties in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area, and review and report on the nature and extent of, and responsibility for, third party damages associated with oil spills in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area.

Develop evidence-based conclusions from the above noted reviews and submit any recommendations for changes that, if implemented, would bring the legislative and regulatory regimes, capabilities and practices in Newfoundland and Labrador in line with the most progressive regimes, capabilities and best practices internationally.

2010 05 12                                                     9:20 a.m.


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