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A third well exploration effort off Nova Scotia has failed to find commercially viable levels of oil in the deep waters of the Scotian Shelf.

Hess Corp., the drilling partners on the BP PLC-operated Scotian Basin Exploration Drilling Project, issued a press release on Tuesday saying it will write off its share of the well cost, and BP will abandon the Aspy well.

It is BP’s only well currently being drilled in the deep waters of the Scotian Shelf, an area about 330 kilometres from Halifax where the company holds multiple licences in waters over two kilometres deep.

Environmental, fishing and Aboriginal groups have repeatedly criticized the various drilling programs as lacking sufficient response systems for potential blowouts, and their criticisms of the BP project heightened in June after a spill of 136 cubic metres of synthetic drilling mud from BP Canada’s West Aquarius drilling unit.

Last year, Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced it would seal the second of two exploration wells off Nova Scotia after they also didn’t find commercial quantities of oil.

Promoters had hoped deep water plays like the efforts by BP and Shell would help rekindle the industry off Nova Scotia as the Sable Offshore Energy Project winds down in the shallower basins.