Canada's first major offshore oilfield, Hibemia, was discovered in 1979 off Newfoundland on Canada's east coast. Production will be from a single gravity base platform of unique design to withstand the demanding physical environment of the Grand Banks. The platform's base, and part of the topsides production facilities will be built in Newfoundland for tow-out to the offshore location. The Hibernia owners have established The Hibemia Management and Development Company, Ltd. to build and operate the field's production facilities.

After several years of physical, biological, socioeconomic and engineering research, three key documents were provided to government to gain the approvals to proceed with the Hibemia Project: the Development Plan, the Hibernia Benefits Plan and the Hibernia Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This paper focuses on the EIS and its evolution into policies and procedures.

At the time work toward the approvals began in 1980, both the federal and the provincial governments claimed jurisdiction over the Newfoundland offshore. By 1985, a management regime had been agreed. For environmental work, offshore aspects were to be addressed by a joint provincial-federal regulatory agency, the Canada Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (CNOPB) and the province would take the lead role during onshore construction activities through an inter-governmental group, the Hibemia Construction sites Environmental Management Committee (HCSEMC). Each of the CNOPB and HCSEMC is the "single window" between the project and the regulators within its particular mandate.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.