Imperial Drills Duster Offshore Nova Scotia

Imperial Oil has abandoned the Balvenie well offshore Nova Scotia coast. Imperial and its partner in the well, Talisman Energy said they were not ready to give up on exploration off Nova Scotia, despite the industry's failure so far to uncover major new natural gas reserves.

The partners began drilling the deep-water Balvenie well this summer and abandoned it early this month after reaching a total depth of 15,580 feet, Imperial spokesman Hart Searle said.

"The well didn't encounter hydrocarbons in commercial quantities," Searle said. He added that Imperial had yet to decide when to drill on its two deepwater blocks again.

"We're still in the process of doing the evaluation on this Balvenie well and we haven't come to a conclusion on further exploration work," he said.

Imperial also has an interest in the only producing development off Nova Scotia, the Sable Offshore Energy Project, which pumps about 500 million cubic feet of gas a day.

Nova Scotia authorities have estimated the deepwater region off the coast could contain 15 trillion to 40 trillion cubic feet of gas, but major reserves have so far been elusive, despite numerous exploration wells.