The province welcomes EnCana’s early morning announcement to develop the Deep Panuke natural-gas field. “This is a great day for Nova Scotians and for the Nova Scotia offshore,” said Premier Rodney MacDonald. “There is no question that momentum is growing in our offshore, and with that momentum comes jobs, infrastructure and opportunity.” The estimated $700-million project is expected to begin production in 2010. Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt said Deep Panuke will generate even more attention from the exploration and investment community. “This is great news for the energy industry today — and it hints at the potential for tomorrow,” said Mr. Hurlburt. “Nova Scotia has more than 400,000 square kilometres of under-explored offshore potential. This project not only represents new activity in our offshore, more people working, and more investments — it will also mean more interest in our resource.” The project will mean a guarantee of 1.35 million hours of work in Nova Scotia, with at least 850,000 hours of that work to be done by Nova Scotians. The work will include jobs related to project engineering, design, procurement, fabrication and manufacturing. The work is guaranteed under the Offshore Strategic Energy Agreement signed by the province and EnCana. Funds from the project, at least 0.5 per cent of gross revenue, will be set aside to advance education and training, and research and development in petroleum resource activities. Deep Panuke is about 250 kilometres southeast of Nova Scotia.