Lifting equipment fails as company prepares to move blowout preventer
The drill rig GSF Grand Banks was at the Kiewit Offshore Services facility at Cow Head last week. The shipyard could see a lot of big vessels if it is successful in getting the work from a major military contract. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram
Husky Energy, operator of the White Rose oilfield, is assessing the damage to equipment onboard the drill rig GSF Grand Banks following a weekend incident.
On Saturday, a hydraulic lifting cylinder failed as the rig’s blowout preventer was about to be lowered to the seabed during well completion operations at North Amethyst, a satellite oilfield near White Rose.
The equipment failure caused the blowout preventer (BOP) to shift in its carrier.
No one was injured.
“The BOP was being moved and it shifted in its carrier,” said Colleen McConnell, spokeswoman for Husky. The damage is to the carrier. We’ve got to get an assessment of how extensive that is before we can say what the next steps are.”
She said the company may know more later in the week once specialists are brought in to examine the equipment.
“Right now, we don’t think the BOP was damaged,” said McConnell.
Husky will inspect and re-test the blowout preventer, which remains onboard the rig.
“The BOP was being moved and it shifted in its carrier. The damage is to the carrier. We’ve got to get an assessment of how extensive that is before we can say what the next steps are.” Colleen McConnell
The blowout preventer is a giant stack of valves that sits on top of a wellhead. It’s designed to cut the drill pipe, seal it and shut down a well should a potentially explosive surge of oil and gas occur during drilling.
Meanwhile, work on the two North Amethyst wells has been suspended.
The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board said the drill rig is stable and there was no environmental damage during the incident.
“The blowout preventer will not be returned to service until appropriate repairs and testing are carried out and it is re-commissioned,” the offshore regulator said in a news release issued Monday.
Over the weekend, Husky and rig owner Transocean returned 21 rig workers to St. John’s by helicopter, leaving 67 people aboard the rig.
Further crew transfers may be required during the inspections and repair activity.