Canadian Consulting Engineer

Study doubts merits of B.C.’s offshore oil and gas exploration

A study by Simon Fraser University has found that oil and gas production off the coast of British Columbia would be...

July 12, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A study by Simon Fraser University has found that oil and gas production off the coast of British Columbia would be modest in scale, while creating significant risks to the marine environment from oil spills.
The report by the school of resource and environmental management was commissioned by the Coastal First Nations and has been submitted to a federal panel reviewing the moratorium on exploration.
The provincial government of B.C. wants to pursue offshore oil and gas production by 2010. However, native groups favour continuing a 33-year old moratorium until environmental and jurisdictional issues have been resolved.
The research at SFU found that oil and gas production between Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands would yield less than 200 direct jobs and $18 million annually in provincial royalties.
Meanwhile it says production would likely result in more than 480 small oil spills and a 19% chance of a major spill over 25 years, based on a U.S. federal study of a similarly sized project in Cook Inlet, Alaska.
The study manager, Tom Gunton, a past deputy environment minister in B.C. suggests that B.C. would be better off promoting less capital intensive industries such as forestry, tourism and fishing.
The research was reported in SFU News, June 2004.

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