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Provincial Government Announces New Offshore Exploration Initiative

September 24, 2020

Today, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the establishment of a new offshore exploration initiative to provide companies with the incentive to drill more wells in the best prospects. This is a policy measure that will allow all future bid deposit forfeitures to be reinvested as received, resulting in an injection of hundreds of millions of dollars in support of growth in our offshore petroleum industry. This measure will provide near term drilling activity and employment, enhance global competitiveness at a critical time, and position the province to realize its significant resource potential.

Annually, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) issues calls for bids for exploration licences in the province’s offshore. The sole criterion for selecting a winning bid is the total amount of money the bidder commits to spend on exploration of the parcel. The successful bidder is required to post a security deposit for 25 per cent of the work expenditure bid. If the bidder does not meet its work commitment, the security deposit is forfeit and the investment opportunity is lost. The policy decision announced today will allow forfeited security deposits to be reinvested into offshore exploration projects.

By funding a percentage of well costs beyond the first well drilled on a license, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will ensure that those funds are reinvested back into our offshore with maximum effect to yield those high impact discoveries that create our future projects.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oil and gas industry represents one of the lowest carbon per barrel footprints in the world. It has contributed more than $22 billion in royalties (to the end of 2019) to the province and directly employs over 6,000 people as well as thousands more in supporting industries (at the end of March 2020).

Further details on this initiative will be released in the coming weeks.

“The exploration drilling incentive introduced today is one example of creative solutions we are implementing to help sustain the offshore oil and gas industry and support Newfoundlanders and Labradorians working within it at this challenging time.”
Honourable Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“The value of the oil and gas industry to our province cannot be overstated, nor can it be replaced by any other sector in our economy. Upwards to 30 per cent of our GDP, 13 per cent of our labour compensation and 10 per cent of all employment is attributed to this industry. We will support this industry in any way that we can, because it supports our province.”
Honourable Siobhan Coady
Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance

“We are working closely with the oil and gas industry development council and others to ensure that revenues are used strategically to help get drilling projects moving and our residents back to work.”
Honourable Andrew Parsons
Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology

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Learn more
News Release: Government and Industry Leaders Unite in Support of Offshore Oil and Gas Industry

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL, @FIN_GovNL and @IET_GovNL

Media contacts
Meghan McCabe
Office of the Premier

Marc Budgell

Lisa Lawlor
Innovation, Energy and Technology
709-729-5777, 631-8155


Offshore Bid Deposit Process

Calls for Bids
Upon receipt of Ministerial approval, the C-NLOPB will initiate a call for bids. A call for bids will specify the form and manner in which a bid is to be submitted, any terms and conditions that a bid must satisfy to be considered by the Board. A call for bids must address the sole criterion that the Board will apply in assessing bids that are submitted. This sole criterion is usually expressed as a work expenditure bid.

Work Expenditure Bid
A work expenditure bid is expressed in terms of the amount of money the bidder commits to spend on exploration within the first period of the exploration licence term. This work expenditure bid is fully recoverable against work expenditure that qualifies as an allowable expenditure.

Security Deposit (Work Expenditure Bid)
A successful bidder is required to post a security deposit for 25 per cent of the work expenditure bid. A credit against the security deposit will be made on the basis of 25 per cent of allowable expenditures. This credit is applicable against the security deposit during the first period of the exploration licence term.

A credit against the Security Deposit will be made following each anniversary date of the Exploration Licence on the basis of 25 per cent of Allowable Expenditures. Allowable expenditures which are expended in Period II shall not be credited against the Security Deposit. No interest will be paid on the Security Deposit.

The Interest Owner is not obligated to perform work under this Licence. However, if the Interest Owner does not meet its Work Commitment, the non-credited remaining balance of the Security Deposit will be forfeited to the Receiver General for Canada and then 100 per cent of the forfeited amount is sent to the NL Department of Finance where it is deposited into General Revenue.

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