Following a storm in Canada last week, which was believed to be one of the worst in the region since 1982, oil and gas operators are still assessing their offshore facilities for damage before resuming operations.
As previously reported, Husky’s SeaRose FPSO last Friday spilled 250 cubic meters (250,000 liters) of oil into the environment after trying to restart production, which had been suspended due to Thursday’s weather.
Canada’s offshore regulator, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), launched an investigation into the incident and will keep the FPSO shut for the foreseeable future.
Husky confirmed in a statement on Monday that operations had remained suspended at the SeaRose FPSO with all production wells secured. The company also stated that, since the original spill, no additional oil had been detected at surface and the oil was dispersing.
Assessing for storm damage
Providing an update on the status of other facilities offshore Canada, the C-NLOPB said on Tuesday that both drill rigs which are in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area, namely the Husky-operated Henry Goodrich and the Suncor-operated Transocean Barents, had moved away from drill centers in advance of the storm. Both drill rigs are continuing to be assessed for storm damage and drilling operations will not resume until it is safe to do so, the regulator added.
It is worth reminding that Husky in August awarded a one-year contract extension to Transocean’s Henry Goodrich semi-submersible drilling rigs for operations in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Canada. This should keep the rig busy until late 2019.
Furthermore, the production from the Suncor-operated Terra Nova FPSO was shut down prior to the storm for repairs. While the repairs were completed prior to the storm, Terra Nova remained shut down during the storm. Production will not start until inspections are complete and it is safe to resume operations.
The ExxonMobil-operated Hebron production platform shut down in advance of the storm due to the forecast. ExxonMobil has confirmed through inspection and analysis (and with Certifying Authority concurrence) that there were no storm impacts that affected the safe startup of the production facility. This has been confirmed by the Certifying Authority so they are proceeding with their plan to start up in a cautious manner by slowly introducing hydrocarbons to the facility. However, Hebron will need to inspect the Offshore Loading System prior to offloading petroleum from the facility.
The Hibernia Management and Development Company (HMDC)-operated Hibernia platform continued to operate through the storm per its Safety Plan and harsh weather protocols. On Friday morning, November 16, following discussions between C-NLOPB staff and the operator regarding the fact three lifeboats were out of service, Hibernia operations were halted. At the earliest weather opportunity, the number of persons onboard was reduced to 175. Accordingly, production remains halted at Hibernia until the damage assessment and repairs have been completed and it is safe to resume operations.
Since the storm, C-NLOPB said that its officials, including the Chief Conservation Officer and Chief Safety Officer, have been in daily contact with operators of offshore installations, along with independent Certifying Authorities, to ensure there is a good understanding of any storm impacts and to ensure that required inspections are complete before operations resume.
Offshore Energy Today Staff