Baffin island

A Norway-based energy consortium has postponed plans to conduct seismic testing in the waters off Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.

In June 2014, the National Energy Board (NEB) granted a licence to oil and gas companies Petroleum Geo Services, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical and Multi Klient Invest for the fiercely contested project.

The companies secured approval to use seismic testing up and down the Davis Strait, but said that their latest decision only relates to the immediate plans.

"The project is not cancelled, but we have decided to postpone the project for 2015."

Nunavut hamlet of Clyde River filed a federal court appeal against NEB’s decision, saying that the high-decibel blasts from underwater canons used to help map the seabed would cause damage to the marine life in the area including narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, seals and walruses.

GPS investor relations vice-president Bard Stenberg told Reuters: "The project is not cancelled, but we have decided to postpone the project for 2015."

In response to the consortium’s decision, Greenpeace Canada Arctic Campaigner Farrah Khan said: "The people and wildlife of Baffin Island and surrounding waters can breath a sigh of relief today, knowing they will be spared seismic testing for at least another year.

"Seismic testing involves firing extremely loud airguns underwater and presents a serious risk to local marine life and the people who depend on it for survival."


Image: Companies cancel plans to conduct seismic testing in the waters off Baffin Island. Photo: courtesy of Finlay McWalter.