Shell Canada will spend $970m on exploring offshore oil and gas deposits in Nova Scotia, Canada, over the next six years.

The company won its call for bids and secured the exploration rights for the project, according to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. The investment will be used for work on four parcels of deepwater land off the province’s south-western shore.

The board said that Shell had demonstrated that it has extensive worldwide experience in deepwater drilling, including involvement in three previous deepwater exploratory wells drilled offshore Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

The Huffington Post quoted Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board CEO Stuart Pinks as saying that Shell now has the right to drill off the Scotia Shelf, in water depths ranging from 1,400m to 3,700m.

"It tells me there is some significant confidence in the potential of the offshore of Nova Scotia," said Pinks.

The provincial government will continue seeking more bids on the remainder of the blocks, which will be issued in May this year. The exploration licences are set to begin from 1 March, subject to approval from the federal and provincial governments. Shell must post a 25% deposit of its bid under the agreement.