The ISO/TC 67/SC8 “Arctic Operations” held their third plenary session and work groups meetings in St. John’s, Oct. 2-3, 2013.The sessions are being planned for the NRC OCRE facility (formerly IOT). This marks the culmination of ongoing efforts by the private and public ocean technology stakeholders in NL to participate actively in the evolution of international standards for development in the Arctic.

Activity in the Arctic is increasing and there are a host of well documented reasons why development and operations will require great care and a great deal of consensus and the setting of high standards for exploration, production and processing of hydrocarbons in onshore and offshore regions. These standards must uphold the highest standards for safety and protection of the personnel, equipment and the environment. Such standards, developed with consensus and maintaining high standards, will be measured by the benefits they confer not only to industry and research, but also to the environment, to the federal and regional governments, and to the people.

The Arctic agenda has been on the local ocean technology sector and Province’s agenda for some time and of course the Federal Government has been exploring ways and means to ramp up its commitment to the larger development of this region and has recently committed to support significant infrastructural and research development in the Arctic region.

Technical experts from industry and research from the Newfoundland and Labrador region have participated in international standards committees to ensure that they remain connected to the fast paced changes taking place in the growing oil and gas and ocean technology industries.

Members of the local community have been very active on this international body. For example, Stephen Green, the general manager, ice and environmental services, for Provincial Aerospace, has demonstrated national leadership. Green serves as Canadian Chair for ISO/TC67 SC8 Operational Arctic Oil and Gas Standards in cooperation with the Canadian Standard Association (CSA).  According to Green,  “The presence of the ISO enables us to showcase the capability and capacity of the area as well as create the opportunity to network with people who will play leading roles in establishing new standards for development in the Arctic.”

Another person active locally is Antonio Simões Re, a researcher at the National Research Council.  Simões Re has had a keen interest in the Arctic agenda. There are many others in the marine industry and research community who serve on committees and “mirror” work groups associated with the ISO agenda.

Among the local organizations pushing this agenda is OceansAdvance Inc. It maintains international contacts and since 2006 has been one of the primary promoters for local participation by ocean technology stakeholders in the ISO International standards work group system. The Arctic and its potential for business development and innovation has been a central thrust in OceansAdvance’s strategic agenda “Outward Bound 2015”. That document recognizes that the Arctic is a critical focus for our entire community and should become a major pillar for the future growth of the oceans and allied sectors.  The federal government has recently committed to support significant infrastructural and research development in the Arctic region,” he says. The success of their combined efforts is reflected in part by this recognition of St. John’s by the ISO. 

Once developed, new Arctic standards will generate foundational policies and strategies that, if properly developed and implemented, could foster sustainable development that will benefit industry and research, as well as, federal, provincial, territorial/regional governments and the general public.


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FOR MEDIA INFORMATION: Brenda Baird, OceansAdvance, Telephone 709-738-7059, email:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Paul Steenhof email:

Canada Standards Association, Secretariat, CAC/ISO/TC67 SC8 (Northern Operations)

NOTE: Please indicate your interest in attending the sessions as observers and/or your willingness to serve on working groups or Canadian mirror working groups.

About ISO Technical Committee on Arctic Operations: The Committee includes representatives from nine countries including, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, United States and Russian Federation. The Secretariat for this committee is hosted by the Russia with significant support from Norway building on the depth of their knowledge and expertise in the Barents Sea.

About the National Research Council: The National Research Council (NRC) is the Government of Canada’s premier organization for research and development. Working with clients and partners, we provide innovation support, strategic research, scientific and technical services.

About OceansAdvance: OceansAdvance Inc. was formally established in 2005, with a mission to foster and promote the growth and development of the ocean technology cluster in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is governed by a Board of Directors largely from the private sector and represents the local ocean technology cluster built largely from companies founded to commercialize innovative products and processes developed through research and development at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the National Research Council.

About SCC: The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is the Canadian body that has overall responsibility for Canadian participation in International Standards Committees.