PetroWorth Resources has received approval to drill an exploratory well in search of oil in the Lake Ainslie area, home of the province’s first onshore well in 1869. “We have carefully reviewed the application and we believe we can have environmental protection and economic development at the same time,” said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. “We know Nova Scotians want assurances that oil and gas activity will not harm our province. We have confidence in our regulations and ability to regulate this industry and protect the environment.” PetroWorth applied in September 2010 for approval to drill an onshore oil exploration well in the west Lake Ainslie area. The application required separate approvals from the departments of Environment and Energy. The Department of Energy approved the company’s application for an authority to drill. This permits the company to drill a vertical exploration well between 1,200 and 1,500 metres in depth. It does not include hydraulic fracturing. The approval is consistent with government’s energy strategy to extract oil and gas in the province and not rely on other markets. Nova Scotia has the potential to replace coal with cleaner energy sources, which includes natural gas, and to grow the economy by selling oil and gas to other markets. “As a province, we need to examine and pursue all possible economic development opportunities available to employ Nova Scotians and keep our residents here,” said Mr. Parker. “We will ensure the environment is protected as we capitalize on our natural resources for a cleaner source of fuel to balance the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, like wind and tidal, and to create jobs.” The Department of Environment approved PetroWorth’s industrial approval application on July 29, that addresses process waste management, sound limits and air quality levels. “Applications for drilling must demonstrate measures to protect drinking water and the environment,” said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “PetroWorth will be required to conduct water sampling prior to and following drilling the exploratory well. Construction of the well itself will be done in a way that ensures protection of groundwater.” Government is currently conducting a technical and policy review of environmental impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing. No hydraulic fracturing is occurring in the province and no applications for its use are expected before the review is complete. For more information on the review visit www.gov.ns.ca/nse/pollutionprevention/consultation.hydraulic.fracturing.asp .