Re­as­sur­ing reg­u­la­tors after oil spill

Husky says it’s tak­ing steps to re­sume SeaRose op­er­a­tions

Cape Breton Post - - ATLANTIC -

A Cana­dian oil and gas com­pany says it’s work­ing to re­as­sure reg­u­la­tors that it can re­sume safe op­er­a­tions, two months after a mas­sive oil spill at one of their off­shore oil pro­duc­tion sites.

Work at the site of Husky En­ergy’s SeaRose pro­duc­tion ves­sel has been halted since an es­ti­mated 250,000 litres of oil spilled into the ocean on Nov. 16 at the White Rose oil­field, about 350 kilo­me­tres off the coast of St. John’s, N.L.

In a re­lease on Fri­day, Husky said the com­pany could be­gin flush­ing and leak test­ing of the cen­tral drill cen­tre as early as this week­end, weather de­pend­ing.

“This will re­quire us to cir­cu­late reser­voir flu­ids in­clud­ing oil, gas and wa­ter from the pro­duc­tion flow­lines back to the SeaRose,” said the re­lease. “The flow­lines will be dis­placed with sea­wa­ter prior to test­ing.”

A Husky spokes­woman said the com­pany has al­ready con­ducted “as­sur­ance and ver­i­fi­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties” on both the oil­field and the SeaRose, which in­clude in­spect­ing flow­lines, drill cen­tres, sup­port­ing sub­sea equip­ment, and parts of the SeaRose.

Colleen McCon­nell said this work has been re­viewed and val­i­dated by Det Norske Ver­its, Husky’s cer­ti­fy­ing au­thor­ity.

“In ad­di­tion, we have been re­view­ing and re­vis­ing cer­tain pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures to in­cor­po­rate les­sons learned,” she said in an email.

Husky also said it’s work­ing with the coast guard, the Canada-New­found­land and Labrador Off­shore Pe­tro­leum Board, and other bod­ies to fi­nal­ize a plan to re­cover the flow­line con­nec­tor where the leak orig­i­nated and plug the open ends of the flow­line.

McCon­nell said the agen­cies in­volved held meet­ings through­out last week to re­view el­e­ments of Husky’s flow­line re­cov­ery and plug­ging plan.

“Com­plet­ing this work is im­por­tant for us to re­store the in­tegrity of the South White Rose Ex­ten­sion sys­tem and fur­ther re­duce en­vi­ron­men­tal risk,” she said, adding that the com­pany will sub­mit an up­dated plan to the board this week.

“This re­mains a pri­or­ity ac­tiv­ity for us and the reg­u­la­tor.”

The Canada-New­found­land and Labrador Off­shore Pe­tro­leum Board reg­u­lates the in­dus­try’s de­vel­op­ment in the prov­ince, as well as its safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

On Fri­day, the board said it was still as­sess­ing the plan, and said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent is on­go­ing.

The huge spill of oil, wa­ter and gas hap­pened while the SeaRose was pre­par­ing to restart pro­duc­tion dur­ing a fierce storm.

The com­pany sub­mit­ted a pre­lim­i­nary re­port to the board in De­cem­ber, say­ing the ini­tial re­lease of oil oc­curred over 20 min­utes when crews were trou­bleshoot­ing a drop in flow­line pres­sure, and a retest led to a sec­ond re­lease last­ing about 15 min­utes.

The spill, con­sid­ered the largest in New­found­land and Labrador’s his­tory, has re­newed calls for the gov­ern­ment to take a fresh look at how the prov­ince reg­u­lates the off­shore in­dus­try.


The SeaRose float­ing pro­duc­tion, stor­age and of­fload­ing ves­sel is shown in this un­dated hand­out photo. Cana­dian oil and gas com­pany Husky En­ergy says it’s work­ing to give its reg­u­la­tors con­fi­dence that they can re­sume safe op­er­a­tions, two months after a large spill at one of their off­shore oil plat­forms.

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