EnCana Corp.’s Deep Panuke natural gas project off the coast of Nova Scotia is “not likely” to cause any adverse environmental effects and has been sent to federal regulators for a final ruling, Canada’s environment minister said Wednesday.

Canadian Minister of the Environment John Baird, who is responsible for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, said the proposed gas development will be referred to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), the National Energy Board, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Industry Canada and Transport Canada. Baird’s agency administers Canada’s environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to support sustainable development.

EnCana requested a “time-out” adjournment of regulatory proceedings on the proposed C$700 million-plus project in early 2003 (see Daily GPI, Feb. 18, 2003). At the time the Calgary-based producer said it wanted to reassess the market for the project. Following an extensive internal study, EnCana revised its plans and reduced its production estimates by 25% (see Daily GPI, Aug. 30, 2006). The plan envisioned production of 300 MMcf/d instead of the original estimate of 400 MMcf/d. Four months ago the CNSOPB, which was conducting its review in conjunction with the environmental agency, recommended tentative approval of EnCana’s revised plan (see Daily GPI, May 10).

Deep Panuke is located about 45 kilometers west-southwest of Sable Island and about 250 kilometers southeast of Halifax. EnCana’s main project components would include a jack-up mobile offshore production unit, subsea flow lines and wells and an export pipeline. It would be the second offshore gas project in Nova Scotia waters following the Goldboro Sable Offshore Energy Project.

Baird said he based his approval on a comprehensive study report, public comments received during a 30-day consultation period that ended in July and the implementation of mitigation measures by EnCana.

A copy of Baird’s decision statement may be found on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca using reference number 06-03-21748.

©Copyright 2007Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.