Newfoundland and Labrador Invests $5 Million in O&G Exploration

In an effort to advance onshore oil and gas exploration on the west coast, the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Government announced a $5-million, two-year exploration enhancement program that will assist companies in obtaining crucial geoscientific information in exchange for an equity position in future projects.

The Petroleum Exploration Enhancement Program (PEEP) will encourage onshore exploration by providing funding to Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (Hydro) to strategically invest in geoscientific activities. Hydro will have the flexibility to commission seismic work independently and/or partner with private companies. Budget 2007 allocated $2 million toward the program in this fiscal year.

"This program will provide a major boost to the province's onshore oil and gas sector," said the Honourable Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources. "We have been seeking creative ways to advance the tremendous potential for onshore oil and gas development since we took office. A recurring theme in discussions with our industry partners has been the continuing need for high-quality geoscientific information that would allow companies to identify the best prospects for drilling."

Minister Dunderdale announced the program in Corner Brook this morning during the 2nd International Symposium on Oil and Gas Resources in Western Newfoundland. PEEP will help the west coast region, where companies have been exploring for oil for over 100 years. Significant prospects have been identified on the Port au Port Peninsula, in the Bay St. George and Deer Lake basins and other west coast areas.

"The program will invest in seismic surveys that will give the province and its exploration partners a clearer indication of the opportunities that lie beneath the surface of our onshore lands," Minister Dunderdale said. "Acquiring seismic data is an expensive undertaking but essential for making crucial exploration decisions. This program will hopefully result in greater exploration activity."

Quality, reliable geoscience is a key element of successful petroleum exploration. Program details are still being finalized. The key objective of this program will be to increase the province's overall understanding of the onshore petroleum potential.

The $2 million for the program in this fiscal year is part of the $12 million in block funding identified in Budget 2007 to begin implementation of energy plan initiatives.

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