CALGARY, Sept. 13, 2018 /CNW/ – To support marine conservation efforts, Shell Canada (“Shell”) today announced it intends to voluntarily release about 50,000 km2 of exploratory permits off coastal British Columbia, Canada. More than one and a half times the size of Vancouver Island, the acreage is located in the Queen Charlotte and Tofino basins covering vast and environmentally rich areas. Shell’s permit area, which has been under Federal moratorium since 1972, overlaps with about one-third of the newly designated Scott Islands National Wildlife Area.
“Releasing these exploration permits can help protect spectacular and environmentally rich areas off Canada’s West Coast where we have no plans to explore for oil and gas,” said Michael Crothers, Shell Canada President and Country Chair. “We saw an opportunity to support marine protection as part of our ongoing efforts to find pragmatic ways to contribute to conservation in Canada while maintaining our robust global exploration portfolio.”
“Effective protection of our coasts, oceans and wildlife requires strong partnerships and collaborative efforts on all sides,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “Our government is pleased to be working with First Nations partners, the Government of British Columbia and Shell to ensure the Scott Islands remain a thriving hub of biodiversity and marine life for generations to come.”
“Canadians know that the environment and the economy must go hand in hand,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Federal Minister of Natural Resources. “Today’s announcement is an example of this and demonstrates how businesses can develop resources in a responsible manner, while also taking important steps to protect the environment, including our coasts, oceans and wildlife.”
Drilling activities completed in the Queen Charlotte and Tofino basins by Shell prior to the 1972 Federal moratorium had resulted in many oil and gas shows, indicating the potential for hydrocarbon resources in both basins. Given the ongoing moratorium, Shell plans to formally release the permits and work with the Government of Canada on potential investments to support marine conservation efforts in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and environmental groups. Shell will also seek advice from the Nature Conservancy of Canada to determine how releasing these permits might achieve the most effective conservation outcomes.
Shell’s contribution is in line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserve 10 percent of Canada’s coastal and marine areas by 2020, and the aim of government, Indigenous communities and environmental organizations to advance marine conservation.
Shell has a 30-year history of voluntary marine and land conservation in Canada, having contributed nearly 60,000 km2 of offshore rights and more than 125 km2 (12,000 hectares) of conservation land. This includes the 2016 voluntary contribution of exploration rights off the coast of Nunavut to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) that will become part of the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area.