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Oil and gas companies in limbo await decision on Arctic offshore drilling licences

By Jolson Lim      

Companies currently permitted to explore for deposits or hold on to discoveries in Arctic waters have waited in uncertainty since December 2016 over whether they can continue to operate.

Arctic sea ice, pictured in 2011. The federal government currently has a moratorium in place on any new offshore oil and gas drilling. NASA photograph by Kathryn Hansen
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Energy companies with active licences to explore Arctic waters for oil and gas expect an announcement from Ottawa by July that could spell the fate of their future in the North, after a year of consultations with licence holders were held following a December 2016 decision to freeze drilling in Arctic waters for five years had put them in limbo. Ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) made a joint announcement with then-United States president Barack Obama

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