Noia writes Trudeau about ‘dire’ state of Newfoundland and Labrador offshore oil sector

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(The Chronicle Herald) The association representing businesses involved in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil sector is adding written words to spoken ones as it continues to press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide federal government help for the beleaguered industry.

In an open letter to Trudeau, Noia repeatedly described the situation as “dire” and reiterated a call for the application of two previously used incentives — the Petroleum Incentive Program (PIP) and Atlantic Investment Tax Credit — to spur offshore exploration.

The letter comes a week after Noia was joined by Premier Dwight Ball, Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady, Memorial University

President Vianne Timmons and others in making a joint online appeal to the prime minister.

The highlighted points remained the same seven days later — thousands of lost jobs after oil prices tumbled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the projection of the province losing more than $60 billion in gross domestic production in the next 18 years, the implementation of similar incentive programs in Norway and the United Kingdom, and what Noia says are the environmental benefits — comparative to other oil-producing jurisdictions — of Newfoundland offshore oil.

Also the same was the stated sense of urgency.

“Prime Minister, we need your support and we need it now. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador need a response now,” reads the letter.

The correspondence came on the same day the CBC reported the company responsible for drilling operations on the Hibernia oil production platform will begin laying off employees late next week.

In early April, the Hibernia Management Development Corporation made the decision to trim costs by suspending drilling for at least a year, although it will continue to bring up oil from existing wells at the Hibernia site.

The reports come less than three months after Equinor and Husky Energy announced they were deferring the Bay du Nord deepwater oil production project, which was expected to have been sanctioned this year. And the future of the Terra Nova FPSO remains in doubt, with a refit for the vessel cancelled and Suncor announcing it will soon halt production, with industry expectation its absence from the Newfoundland offshore could last two years or more.

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