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Oil spill leads to shut down at Hibernia platform

 June 2009 photo of the Hibernia Platform, located on the Grand Banks, 315 km east southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The Hibernia Platform, located on the Grand Banks, 315 km east southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. - SaltWire File Photo

HMDC reports apparent problem with storage cell measurement system

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) has halted oil production aboard the Hibernia platform off the province’s coast in response to an oil spill first observed Wednesday morning.

In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, the company says a mix of water and oil was discharged during what it calls “an isolated activity related to lowering levels in one of the storage cells.”

Later Wednesday night, the company issued another news release stating that it had ceased production. 

“We decided to proactively shut down production on a temporary basis because it provides the most efficient way to resolve the issue with the storage cell,” HMDC president Scott Sandlin stated in the release.

The most recent release states that the company’s preliminary investigation into the incident suggests there’s a problem with the crude oil level measurement system for the storage cells.

While there are no details regarding the size of the spill, the sheen on the water first observed Wednesday morning was estimated to be approximately 20 metres by 900 metres. 

Crew aboard the supply vessel Avalon Sea, were tasked with the initial response, using mechanical dispersion and deploying sorbent boom. A buoy was also deployed to track the ongoing positioning of the sheen, which has since begun dissipating.

No wildlife has been observed in the area, but wildlife observers have been deployed by air and by sea. 

The company reports that all platform personnel are safe. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

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