Science Response 2011/008
Review of the Proposed Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) Plan for the Deep Panuke Offshore Petroleum Production Operations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Environmental Assessment and Major Projects Division (EAMP), Maritimes Region, requested that DFO Science, Maritimes Region, provide advice regarding Encana Corporation’s proposed environmental effects monitoring (EEM) plan entitled ‘Encana Deep Panuke: Offshore Production Environmental Effects Monitoring Plan (EEMP)’, for the production operations of its Deep Panuke natural gas development project in the offshore of Nova Scotia (Encana Corporation, 2011). The scope of the EEM plan (the plan) includes all components of the development project located in the marine environment: the offshore production field centre (and associated infrastructure) and the offshore-onshore export pipeline into the near-shore marine environment where the pipeline comes ashore. The plan does not include monitoring of terrestrial components, as this is covered in other plans.
The request for science advice supports DFO EAMP’s involvement as an expert authority in the Comprehensive Study Report for the Deep Panuke natural gas development project pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Specifically, DFO EAMP asked:
1. Are the proposed monitoring components, sampling procedures, sampling frequencies, and analyses appropriate for verifying the accuracy of Environmental Assessment predictions of the potential environmental effects associated with operations of the Deep Panuke project? What additions and/or changes can be made to any monitoring component that would improve the monitoring plan?
2. Are the proposed monitoring components, sampling procedures, sampling frequencies, and analyses appropriate for verifying the effectiveness of mitigation measures that are to be implemented to reduce the potential impacts of operations of the Deep Panuke project on the environment? What additions and/or changes can be made to any monitoring component that would improve the monitoring plan?
A DFO Centre for Science Advice (CSA) Special Science Response Process (SSRP) was used to provide science advice. The SSRP is based on the results of DFO Science directed research, as well as the knowledge gained from monitoring programs of other petroleum operators in the offshore of Atlantic Canada and elsewhere.
- It is believed that the proposed monitoring plan will clearly answer Question 1 noted above. In regard to Question 2, it is believed that the general and specific comments/recommendations provided in this response would help strengthen the plan and should be given consideration.
- A discussion should be included on how the proposed monitoring plan compares to and incorporates ‘lessons learned’ from other monitoring plans of similar offshore petroleum projects, including as appropriate a comparison to monitoring plans of offshore petroleum developments in other regions.
- If statistical measurements (e.g. Analysis of Variance – ANOVA) were used in designing the proposed sampling scheme outlined in the monitoring plan they should be stated.
- To further address potential fisheries issues in the plan, it is recommended that the Fish Health Assessment core component (Section 6.5 of the plan) consider the inclusion of additional analyses, if only for assurance.
- Numerical models, such as a Dose-related Risk and Effect Assessment Model (DREAM), should be used to help track the produced water plume to inform the EEM sampling design in real time rather than relying on tide tables, since tide direction around the platform can change significantly even during the time that sampling is occurring. This can result in inadvertent sampling outside of the produced water plume (Niu et al., 2010).
- The goal of the ‘Sediment Chemistry and Toxicity’ monitoring component (Section 6.3.2 of the proposed monitoring plan) focuses primarily on TPH and barium from historical drilling discharge. In response to Section 6.3.6, which suggests that some analytes could be deleted based on data collected to date, since produced water discharges may contain high concentrations of barium it is recommended to continue monitoring a full suite of metals in sediments over subsequent years of monitoring.
- Other specific comments to various sections of the proposed monitoring plan have been provided.
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