Arctic offshore oil and gas
Learn about the Government of Canada's approach for offshore oil and gas in the Arctic.
On December 20, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadian Arctic waters are indefinitely off limits to new offshore oil and gas licencing, to be reviewed every five years through a science-based review. As existing oil and gas licences in the Arctic offshore were not impacted by the announcement, the Prime Minister also committed to a one-year consultation process with the current licence holders and with territorial and Northern Indigenous governments on their interests in the offshore.
Officials from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, now Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Natural Resources Canada coordinated the consultations throughout 2017.
In addition to the points of view of interested parties heard during the consultations, the Government of Canada considered the opinions and ideas gathered during engagement activities of both the 2016 Review of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act and on the development of a new Shared Arctic Leadership Model before deciding on next steps on future Arctic oil and gas development on October 4, 2018.
The path forward
As a result of the information received through the consultations and engagement activities, the Government of Canada is committed to a future approach on Arctic offshore oil and gas which will be developed in collaboration with all parties concerned. As part of the next steps, announced on October 4, 2018, the government will:
- freeze the terms of the existing licences in the Arctic offshore to preserve existing rights, remit the balance of any financial deposit related to licences to affected licence holders and suspend any oil and gas activities for the duration of the moratorium
- work with Northern partners to co-develop the scope and governance framework for a science-based, life-cycle impact assessment review every five years that takes into account marine and climate change science
- negotiate a Beaufort Sea oil and gas co-management and revenue-sharing agreement with the governments of the Northwest Territories and Yukon, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation