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Technical Review of Project-Specific Drill Cutting Dispersion Modelling for Tilt Cove Exploration Drilling Project Environmental Impact Statement

Regional Peer Review - Newfoundland and Labrador Region

March 30, 2023
St. John's, NL and Virtual Meeting

Co-Chairs: E. Dale Richards and Hilary Rockwood


Suncor Energy (the Proponent) has proposed to carry out exploratory drilling in the Newfoundland Region. Specifically, the Proponent proposes to conduct its work in Tilt Cove, located approximately 325 km east southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland on the eastern edge of the Grand Banks and approximately 100 km west of the Flemish Pass. The Proponent submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) for review, who subsequently submitted the document to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) through the Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program (FFHPP).

FFHPP is requesting that Science undertake a technical review of the project-specific drill cutting dispersion modelling from the Tilt Cove Exploration Drilling Project, which is appended to the EIS document. In particular, a review of the scientific merit of the information presented and the validity of the Proponent’s methodologies and conclusions.

In accordance with the legislative provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012), DFO is required to provide specialist or expert information or knowledge, pertaining to the Department’s mandate, with respect to a designated project that is subject to an environmental assessment.

The submission consists of the following document: Appendix C – Suncor Energy Offshore Exploration Partnership Tilt Cove Exploration Drilling Project (2019–28) Drill Release Risk Assessment.


The objective of the Science Response Process is to provide project-specific science advice on the following questions:

The findings of the SRP will form part of a DFO departmental review of the drill cutting dispersion modelling. The input received from Science will help inform decisions made by the IAAC, the Canada-NL Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), and the Proponent. In particular, the project-specific drill cutting dispersion modelling is used to inform the development of the Proponent’s benthic survey, to confirm the presence or absence of corals or sponges at proposed drill sites, subsequent mitigation options to reduce any identified risk to benthic habitat, and follow-up monitoring programs to verify predictions.

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