Rights Management

Management and administration of offshore petroleum rights is part of the regulatory process that begins with rights issuance.

A licence can be awarded through an established Call for Bids process that is open and transparent. There are three types of licences: exploration, significant discovery and production.

Exploration Licences (EL) may be issued for Crown lands. The EL confers:

  • the right to explore for, and the exclusive right to drill and test for, petroleum;
  • the exclusive right to develop those portions of the offshore are in order to produce petroleum; and
  • the exclusive right to obtain a production licence in respect of the subject lands.

Significant Discovery Licences (SDL) are designed to maintain an explorer's rights during the period between first discovery and eventual production.

Production Licence (PL) confers the rights to production in respect of any portion of the offshore area subject to a commercial discovery. A commercial discovery is one that has demonstrated it contains reserves that will justify the investment of capital and effort to bring the discovery to production.

Rights Management in the Nova Scotia offshore area is based on the Canadian Petroleum Resources Act model, as illustrated below.

The Board also maintains a public registry of all offshore licences. This registry system is governed by Division VIII of Part II of the federal Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and the provincial Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act. Under the Accord Acts and Regulations, the Board is required to establish and maintain a registration system which, under the direction of the Registrar, will allow for the registration and retrieval of information respecting "Interests" and "Instruments" as defined by the Accord Acts.

For further information about Rights Management in Offshore Nova Scotia or to access our public registry please contact:

S.F. (Steve) Bigelow
Director, Resources and Rights
Chief Conservation Officer
Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board
18th Floor TD Centre
1791 Barrington Street
Halifax N.S. B3J 3K9
Telephone: (902) 422-5588 (24 hour)
Fax: (902) 422-1799