Company fights board over use of seismic data1/11/2013
Paul Einarsson says the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board is treating his Calgary company’s seismic data as if it owns it.
“It’s expropriation without compensation,” the chief operating officer of Geophysical Service Inc. said in an interview Thursday.
Geophysical Service has applied for a Nova Scotia Supreme Court order declaring that the regulatory board’s demands that the company provide it with all records of non-exclusive seismic survey work it has done off Nova Scotia are unlawful and not authorized by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act or the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act.
The application, which also names the attorneys general of Nova Scotia and Canada as respondents, also asks for a permanent injunction preventing the board “from disclosing or otherwise making available to any person whatsoever, and in any manner or format whatsoever, the complete records, or alternatively the electronic records.”
Geophysical Services claims that data produced from non-exclusive surveys from 1971 to 2006 are proprietary, confidential, copyrighted and constitute trade secrets.
“Disclosure to third parties by the respondent board or the respondent provincial Crown of the complete records, or alternatively of the electronic records, would represent breach of the proprietary, confidentiality, trade secrets and copyright rights of the applicant, would diminish if not exclude the commercial value to the applicant of its rights in those records, and would cause irreparable harm to the applicant, which could not be adequately compensated in damages.”
Einarsson said the board is using data that was provided for regulatory purposes to promote offshore development in Nova Scotia.
“They’re acting like they own it and using it to make money.”
Geophysical Services compiles seismic data and licences it to users, typically large oil and gas companies, with provisions that restrict its distribution, much as software is licensed, he said.
But Einarsson said the board has distributed the company’s data “willy-nilly” in an attempt to lure businesses to the East Coast.
“They’re trampling on our property rights. They’re using our data to get more royalties, taxes and employment for the province without paying for it. They owe us for all the data they’ve disclosed.”
The Calgary company will be in court Feb. 11 to make a motion for an order setting a date, time and place for a hearing.
Board spokeswoman Tanya Taylor White said she couldn’t comment because the matter is before the court.
The board plans to contest the Geophysical Service application
(The Chronicle Herald)