Oil seepage came from abandoned well: report

Amec proposes isolating Shoal Point seepage area, excavating and

Published on August 18, 2015
Shoal Point — TC Media file photo

A report on oil seepage at Shoal Point says an abandoned well was the likely source of about a litre of seepage per hour, the provincial government said in a news release Tuesday.

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Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure provided these preliminary findings to the provincial government after inspecting the Port au Port Peninsula site this summer. The provincial government paid the company $47,000 for the assessment.

“I have always been quite clear that the first step in dealing with this issue was to determine why oil was seeping into the bay at Shoal Point and to obtain specific information about the cause and location of the seep. While natural seepage has long been documented in the area, we now have confirmation from Amec that there is also an abandoned well casing located below the surface of the shoreline,” Environment and Conservation Minister Dan Crummell said in the news release.

“I have also been very clear that if it was determined that there was anything adding to the natural seepage, that this government would take action to deal with it. I am pleased to advise that this is exactly what we are doing and that this next phase of work, which will involve excavation to isolate the specific source of the leak in order to contain it, will now begin.”

Amec proposed the seepage area be isolated by using a double culvert system. Excavation would then take place within the islolated area, exposing the top of the well casing. Once that’s done and the casing is inspected, the next steps would be determined.

Amec gathered its data from field inspections and five flyovers in June and July. The overflight report estimated a sheen of about 1.2 litres on June 11, and noted no sheen on the following four flyovers. Field inspections show the oil was released intermittently.