The following is an op-ed from Nova Scotia Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette
A few days ago, one chapter of Nova Scotia’s offshore story came to an end when the Sable Offshore Energy Project delivered the last of its gas to our province.
While production has ended, the legacy and benefits Sable brought to Nova Scotians will last for many years to come.
Over 20 years, our province received nearly $4 billion in payments as a result of Sable. On top of that, the companies that own Sable spent billions more on goods and services in Nova Scotia, creating new capabilities our businesses now export.
That amount of money is roughly the same as what’s needed to build 125 high schools or 1,250 kilometres of twinned highway.
The Sable project employed an average of 630 Nova Scotians annually for 20 years. The project spent $30 million on local research and development and $50 million in training and education for young people.
Last year alone, $193 million of offshore revenue went directly into a trust that will be used to expand high-speed internet access to underserviced homes and businesses across the province.
In addition, Nova Scotia wouldn’t have a natural gas industry without Sable. In addition to heating homes and powering industry, many of our hospitals and schools count on natural gas.
Natural gas use in Nova Scotia has reduced our carbon emissions by 219,000 tonnes a year. That’s the same as taking 48,000 cars off the road, and the result is better air quality for all of us.
Nova Scotians received all of these benefits and more. At the same time our ocean and Sable Island were protected, our fishery grew to record numbers and for the last 14 years not a single person missed work due to an injury on the job at Sable.
Our record is impressive, and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board independently monitors company performance while enforcing our high regulatory standards.
The best part is our offshore still holds so much potential for the future.
Our investments in geoscience tell us there is plenty of oil and gas out there. The more research we do, the more likely we are to attract new exploration commitments.
If we’re able to export liquified natural gas, we could help reduce emissions and improve air quality for millions of people living in other areas of the world.
Petroleum from Nova Scotia could be used to make clothing, fertilizer, medicine and medical devices, electronics and many other products we use every day.
Nova Scotia’s offshore is seen as a jurisdiction that prioritizes safety and protecting the environment through comprehensive regulations.
We’ve proven that our businesses and workforce have the experience to compete globally.
When the time and the economic conditions are right, industry will again look to Nova Scotia’s offshore and we would welcome another opportunity.
The key is patience and persistence. Nova Scotia’s oil and gas industry started 60 years ago in 1959. Our first discovery was in 1969, and gas production didn’t start until 30 years later.
It could take some time to write, but I look forward to the next chapter in the story of our offshore.