Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter
Credits: REUTERS/ADAM SCOTTI
Shell Oil is committed to spending nearly $1 billion to look for crude deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean off the picturesque coast.
"Can we become a 'have' province? Of course we can, with things like the exploration of the offshore; it's about taking advantage of the resources that we have and making the most out of them," Dexter told QMI Agency while making funding announcements in Liverpool.
Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has singled out Alberta's oilsands as the cause of 'Dutch disease' in Canada's manufacturing sector. Dexter, an NDP premier, rejects that line of thinking.
"Does natural resource extraction sometimes distort economies? That's undeniable. Is that a reason not to do it? No." Dexter said.
Nova Scotia's opposition Progressive Conservatives say they support offshore exploration and seemed surprised by Dexter's stance.
"The NDP are sending mixed messages and crossing the signals on Nova Scotia's offshore oil and gas industry," said Chris d'Entremont, PC MLA for Argyle. "It's obvious the NDP is trying to have it both ways.
"On one hand, the federal leader calls the resource sector a 'disease', but at the same time the premier is welcoming its jobs."
Three-dimensional seismic testing will start in January, with the first exploratory wells drilled in 2015.
Nova Scotia will get $1.2 billion in equalization payments in the fiscal 2012-13 year. Once Newfoundland and Labrador started making money with offshore oil and gas, the former have-not province stopped taking hefty equalization payments in 2008-09.