UK supermajor BP has been given approval by Canadian regulators to prepare for the drilling of its first wildcat off Nova Scotia.
The approval from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board allows the drilling rig chartered by BP, the semi-submersible Seadrill West Aquarius, to enter Nova Scotian waters.
The company is permitted to begin preparatory activities aboard the West Aquarius, which may include the mobilisation of additional supplies and equipment to the rig.
However, the authorisation given so far does not allow BP to start drilling the exploration well.
Upstream previously reported drilling could begin as early as mid-April.
BP told Upstream this week it does not have an estimate of timing from the regulator, but the company is "hopeful" drilling will commence this month.
The drilling programme could involve a second exploration well, depending on results of the first probe, with each likely to take about 120 days to drill.
Hess is partnering BP in the planned drilling campaign.