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Genomics part of Nova Scotia investment in offshore research

Halifax, June 20, 2018 -
New research will create a clearer picture of the oil and gas resource potential that exists off the coast of Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia Department of Energy has outlined how more geoscience work will proceed as part of the government’s four-year $11.8-million commitment to the second phase of the Offshore Growth Strategy.

“Investments in research and exploration have already paid off for Nova Scotians by attracting more than $2 billion in offshore work commitments,” said Energy Minister Geoff MacLellan. “By taking an innovative approach to offshore development, we’re creating the conditions for future economic growth and sharing the benefits with Nova Scotians through health care, education, roads, internet access and other important public services.”

"Natural Resources Canada is proud to have our geoscience expertise applied to projects all over the country, including Nova Scotia, to contribute to the sustainable development of resources, improve environmental protection and achieve technological innovations,” said Jim Carr, federal Minister of Natural Resources. “Thanks to our collaborative federal-provincial geoscientific research we’re enhancing Canada’s competitiveness, attracting new exploration investment to the region’s energy industries and supporting our federal marine geoscience research priorities."

Phase two of the strategy was announced in March and will include:

  • collecting core samples and high-resolution mapping information of the ocean bottom and sub bottom
  • working with Morocco to reconstruct seismic images from 200 million years ago when Morocco and Nova Scotia separated
  • updating the Play Fairway Analysis with new information from offshore drilling results
  • building new areas of research and strengthening existing research capacity.
“Multi-year research project activity and dedicated marketing efforts are only possible through the continued support from the province and the strong collaborative effort of our partners,” says Stephen Dempsey, executive director of the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia. “The association is committed to the hard work of identifying, discovering and ultimately successfully producing Nova Scotia’s offshore energy resources.”

So far, research indicates there is more than 120 trillion cubic feet of gas and eight billion barrels of oil off Nova Scotia’s coast.

The association, in partnership with the Department of Energy, will lead this research in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada Atlantic-Natural Resources Canada, Genome Atlantic, Saint Mary’s University and the University of Calgary.

“Combining genomics with geology has the potential to provide us with the clearest picture yet of petroleum deposits in Nova Scotia’s offshore,” says Genome Atlantic’s director of Business Development Andy Stone. “We’re proud to have played a key role in advancing this research to help reduce the investment risk of offshore exploration and look forward to continuing the collaboration.”

“This investment from the province is a direct investment in the research capacity of our province,” said Dr. Adam Sarty, associate vice-president Research and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at Saint Mary’s University. “Saint Mary’s is pleased to partner with the province on this project, and look forward to opportunities for future collaborations, capitalizing on our expertise in this area.”

The province will continue to share this research with industry to help attract additional investment.


Genome Atlantic, Genome Canada, and Genome Alberta have funded some of the 'omics work that has been part of the initial investment in de-risking offshore exploration and we have produced a a short video about the role of microbiology in marine exploration.


Genomics part of Nova Scotia investment in offshore research

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