Independent offshore oil spill readiness report completed

May 16, 2011

Following the Deepwater Horizon Macondo incident, the British Petroleum blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador commissioned an independent study into the preparedness and ability of provincial agencies to respond to an off-shore crisis. Captain Mark Turner, an expert in marine safety and environmental management, was retained to assess the current regulatory framework and the ability of the province to respond to an incident.

Among the recommendations of the study, the report suggests the need to increase the liability cap on compensation in the event of a spill or blowout from the current Canadian law limits on liability for damages from a spill of $40 million for Arctic water and $30 million for spills on the eastern coast. The report also advocates for the inclusion of regular audits performed by independent third parties in order to add transparency to internal findings of the regulators. Furthermore, the report recommended the need for the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to design more detailed strategies aimed specifically at blow-outs, and advocated for a “Total System” approach to blowout control, management response and recovery.

Newfoundland & Labrador Natural Resource Minister Shawn Skinner said the government supports all of the recommendations and is prepared to work with the other provincial and federal agencies that share responsibility for the oversight of off-shore drilling and production activities.

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