U.S. oil major ExxonMobil has down-manned non-essential personnel from the Thebaud platform and the Noble Regina Allen drilling rig located off Canada due to a winter storm expected in the area.
The Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) said on Wednesday that the down-manning was done due to forecasted weather and sea-state conditions expected near the Sable Offshore Energy Project facilities.
Producing natural gas and liquids since 1999, the Sable Offshore Energy Project is Canada’s first offshore natural gas project. The Sable Project has been responsible for providing a source of energy to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and new supply to the northeastern United States.
The Sable Project is made up of seven offshore platforms in five different fields with 21 wells, and 340 kilometers of subsea pipeline. The fields are Thebaud, North Triumph, Venture, Alma, and South Venture.
The development is spread over 200 square kilometers near Sable Island in the North Atlantic Ocean. The seven platforms are located in shallow water with depths between 22 and 76 meters. The Thebaud complex is connected by a 200-kilometre subsea pipeline to a gas plant located at Goldboro, Guysborough County.
As for the Noble Regina Allen jack-up rig, the 2013-built rig was hired for a 22-well plug and abandonment (P&A) program. According to Noble’s latest fleet report, the rig, currently off the coast of Nova Scotia, began work on the contract in mid-December 2017 and is expected to complete the campaign in mid-December 2019.
CNSOPB added that ExxonMobil would continue to monitor forecasted conditions to determine if further precautionary down-manning was required.
On the other hand, Encana advised that, based on the forecasted weather and sea-state conditions at their Deep Panuke Production Field Centre, a precautionary down-manning of their facilities is not required at this time.
Weather warning for Guysborough County
On Thursday morning, around 5:00 AM local time (Atlantic Standard Time), the Canadian government issued a weather warning for Guysborough County stating: “A low-pressure system […] will intensify rapidly into a major winter storm today as it approaches the Maritimes from the southwest.
“Very strong easterly winds gusting to 100 km/h are forecast to develop over the entire province of Nova Scotia today. Over exposed areas near the coast, these winds could gust as high as 130 km/h with the strongest gusts along parts of the Atlantic coast this afternoon.
“[…] potential gusts to 140 km/h along parts of the Atlantic coast will develop tonight and into Friday morning as the intense storm tracks north of the province.”
The storm might also cause flooding during high tide on Thursday evening. Also, expected large waves coming into the coast from the south and east will ‘likely’ cause damage to coastal infrastructure.
Offshore Energy Today Staff