In September 2013, Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (Imperial) submitted a proposal to drill deepwater exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea.  If approved, the wells would be the world’s deepest offshore venture in the Arctic.

Ecojustice lawyers were retained to represent WWF-Canada at the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Inuvialuit Environmental Impact Screening Committee review processes to evaluate the proposal.  Ecojustice lawyers represented WWF-Canada in an Arctic Offshore Drilling Review in 2011.

An offshore spill in Arctic waters would pose catastrophic environmental risks to the sensitive ecosystem. Our client’s goal is to ensure that the risks of drilling in this unpredictable environment are fully evaluated and that a credible response plan for dealing with a worst-case scenario accident is in place, in the event that this project proceeds.

On June 26, Imperial Oil announced, on behalf of itself and its partners ExxonMobil and BP, that the group is putting its plans to drill offshore in Canada’s Arctic on hold indefinitely.

Why was Ecojustice Involved?

We believe that it is in the public interest to ensure that civil society groups like our clients are represented in review processes that influence the future of deepwater offshore development across the Arctic and to ensure that assessments rely on the best possible science.

What would a win mean?

Our client’s primary goal was to ensure that if a recommendation was made that the project should proceed, it included conditions that would require any drilling activity to conform to the highest safety standards.