Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 22, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Eastern Nunavut seismic testing postponed until summer 2015

MKI wants more time for benefits plan, NEB terms and conditions

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Multi-Klient Invest, a group of companies set to do seismic testing in the Canadian waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, say they are postponing the work, which was supposed to start this year, until the summer of 2015.

The National Energy Board approved MKI’s five-year testing plan on June 26.

However, in a letter addressed to the NEB dated July 16, RPS Energy Canada Ltd. states, on behalf of MKI and two partner companies, that the seismic testing firms concluded “there is insufficient time to implement all the approved benefit agreements and all terms and conditions” of NEB’s authorization “to enable commencement of seismic operations during the limited 2014 ice-free season.”

The energy board approved seismic testing in the waters off the east coast of Baffin Island despite persistent opposition from Nunavut communities along the coast, including Clyde River.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace took Clyde River’s fight against seismic testing to the United Nations this month.

Clyde River and other communities along the coast contend that the tests will interfere with marine life in the seas, which include various species of whales, polar bears, walrus, porpoise and seals.

MKI’s tests involve a ship, travelling in straight lines, which will tow an air gun array that blasts the sea with timed explosions.

Vibrations caused by the explosions will allow them to map what lies beneath the seabed.

To minimize damage to sea life, the NEB says Multi-Klient Invest should shut down the air gun array if they come within 500 metres of any marine mammal.

MKI and its partners, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA, and Petroleum Geo-Services, stated in the July 16 letter to the NEB that they “are committed to undertaking the survey in a manner consistent with their social and environmental principles.”

The companies said they “will continue a diligent approach over the forthcoming months, including planning, research and communication with local communities.”

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