Hibernia has scaled back production and stopped off-loading to tankers after discovering a leak from a valve in its northern offshore off-loading system.
About 10 litres of crude was spilled from the hose-end valve
Dec. 18, according to a release from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, prompting Hibernia to isolate the valve. The sea surface in the area was monitored for five days. No oil sheens were reported, but the board says heavy seas prevented a remotely operated vehicle from assessing the spill.
On Dec. 27, a sheen was seen by the off-loading system, and calmer conditions allowed use of the vehicle to investigate the source of the sheen, and leakage from the hose-end valve was discovered. Hibernia Management and Development Co. is monitoring the surface, reporting estimated on-water volumes of between 0.009 litres and 0.8 litres of crude. As soon as weather conditions allow, the company will repair the leak. In the meantime, off-loading to tankers has been suspended, and production at Hibernia has been “cut back significantly,” according to the release from the board, which said no wildlife has been observed in the area.
Margot Bruce-O’Connell, public affairs for Hibernia, said Friday there isn’t an estimate yet for how much crude may have leaked from the valve.
“What I can tell you, though, is that the sheen was not visible this morning,” she said. “We have reduced production. We’re still producing, but we’ve reduced the production levels, because we’re not planning at this point to transfer from that system at this time.”
The total volume of crude contained in the affected part of the loading system is about 16,000 litres, according to the board.