top tier net revenue rate of 32.5 per cent, 12.5 per cent above high-risk generic rate guarantee of 1.35 million person hours of work in Nova Scotia, with 850,000 person hours of that work to be undertaken by Nova Scotians with opportunities for even more; this work includes jobs related to project engineering, design, procurement, fabrication and manufacturing; work to be completed in Nova Scotia includes accommodation module fabrication, building of a supply vessel, flare boom and trawl-over protection; creation of a benefits fund for research and development, training and disadvantaged people; and a binding arbitration process. There is good news today for exploration and development in offshore Nova Scotia. The province and EnCana Corporation have signed an agreement that outlines the framework — including employment expectations, industrial benefits, royalties and R&D funding — for development of the Deep Panuke natural gas field in offshore Nova Scotia. “This agreement paves the way for new jobs and opportunities in both our offshore and onshore industries,” Premier Rodney MacDonald said during a speech today, June 30, at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax. “We are working to put money in the pockets of our tradespeople, our businesspeople and our families.” Energy Minister Bill Dooks said the agreement will help spur oil and gas exploration interest in offshore Nova Scotia. “Today’s announcement is good news for exploration and development — and also for manufacturing and research and development,” said Mr. Dooks. “It is also a promise of greater prosperity for Nova Scotia workers, our businesses and, ultimately, our families.” “This is an important first step,” said Dave Kopperson, EnCana’s vice-president, Atlantic Canada. “We’re pleased to have established this framework and look forward to a continued constructive relationship with the province as we consider the future development of Deep Panuke.” EnCana is preparing to file a Deep Panuke project description this summer with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and a development plan application later this year with the Canada/Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. Highlights of the offshore strategic energy agreement include: Premier MacDonald said the agreement provides for five onshore rigs to be built in Nova Scotia with the financial assistance of EnCana. “This agreement builds on our expertise and also generates new skills and industrial development for our businesses,” said the premier.