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Rough seas hamper containment and recovery operations at White Rose oilfield

Husky Energy’s SeaRose FPSO.
Husky Energy’s SeaRose FPSO. - Contributed photo

Estimated 250,000 litres of oil spilled; production remains halted

Husky Energy was still working as of deadline to address a sizeable offshore oil spill that occurred Friday, but rough seas on Saturday and into Sunday afternoon continued to prevent containment and recovery of approximately 250,000 litres of oil despite the arrival of a recovery team Sunday afternoon.

The CNLOPB in an update on its website Sunday said four surveillance flights and an offshore support vessel have been deployed since Friday afternoon to help assess the extent of the spill and look for any effects on wildlife.

“To date, no affected marine life or seabirds have been seen by government and industry observers in the vicinity of the spill and its trajectory,” the CNLOPB stated. Husky reported that additional wildlife observers have been placed on vessels responding to the spill.

“An updated estimate of the volume of the spill and other information should be available following the ROV deployment and subsea inspection,” the CNLOPB said.

Also Sunday, Colleen McConnell, a spokeswoman for Husky, told The Telegram in an email around 4 p.m. that the Skandi Vinland had arrived at the White Rose field and was waiting for weather conditions to improve so it can begin a subsea survey. Waves would need diminish to about four metres before ROVs can be deployed, the spokesperson said.

The Skandi Vinland was to use its ROVs to locate and assess the damage so that a remediation plan can begin.

Husky released Saturday morning that an aerial surveillance flight on Friday identified two oil sheens south of the SeaRose. Followup water monitoring and aerial surveillance continues.

Husky said it had been conducting hourly sweeps of the White Rose field, but no other oil sheens had been reported as of Sunday.

A sheen was located approximately 50 km south of the field and the vessel Maersk Dispatcher is in the area for surveillance and wildlife monitoring.

Another surveillance flight was planned for Sunday afternoon.

Two tracker buoys were also deployed on Friday — one from the SeaRose and one from the Atlantic Hawk.

Production remains halted on SeaRose, and the spokesperson said everyone on board is safe.

The spill was detected just as the company’s SeaRose FPSO was preparing to restart production after Thursday’s high winds. Production had been shut down during the storm on Thursday.

Shortly after noon Friday, the SeaRose detected a loss of pressure in a subsea flowline as the crew was preparing to restart production, and that’s when the oil was spilled.

The exact volumes have yet to be confirmed, but the current estimate is 250,000 litres.

In its statement late Sunday, the CNLOPB said it is carefully monitoring the situation.

The regulator says it will review Husky’s ongoing response, the company’s investigation report when ready and its Operations Authorization in light of this incident and the one last year involving the near miss of an iceberg with the SeaRose FPSO.

The regulator will also formally investigate the spill under its powers as per the Atlantic Accord Implementation Acts, in an effort to confirm the root cause. It will release the findings of its investigation to the public as soon as they are available.

The CNLOPB said it will also “take whatever enforcement action is deemed appropriate in this incident.

“In the wake of the oil spill at the White Rose Field, the CNLOPB CEO and senior staff have been in contact with other operators in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area,” the board said. “Operations at other facilities will not resume until the CNLOPB has determined that it is safe to do so.

“The spill of crude oil in the White Rose Field as Husky Energy prepared to resume production showed that the risks in offshore oil activity can never be underestimated, especially in our harsh environment.” the board said on its website. “Those risks are only acceptable when all reasonable measures have been taken to reduce them.”

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EARLIER STORY:
UPDATED: About 250,000 litres of oil spilled at White Rose oilfield
Rough seas continue to prevent containment and recovery operations

Husky Energy continues to respond to the offshore oil spill detected Friday afternoon, but rough seas on Saturday continue to prevent containment and recovery of the spilled oil. 

A Husky Energy spokesperson said in an email Saturday morning that an aerial surveillance flight on Friday identified two oil sheens south of the SeaRose. A followup flight is planned for today. 

The spokesperson said additional support vessels will be sent out today, including the Skandi Vinland, which will complete an ROV survey of the seabea assets once weather conditions improve. Waves would need to be four meters before ROVs can be deployed, the spokesperson said.

Two tracker buoys were also deployed on Friday — one from the SeaRose and one from the Atlantic Hawk. 

Production remains halted on SeaRose, and the spokesperson said everyone on board is safe. 

Earlier story:

Husky Energy is dealing with an oil spill at its White Rose oilfield.

The spill was detected Friday afternoon, just as the company's SeaRose FPSO was preparing to restart production after Thursday’s high winds.

Production was shut down during the storm on Thursday, Husky spokesperson Colleen McConnell said in an email to The Telegram.

Shortly after noon Friday, the SeaRose detected a loss of pressure in a subsea flowline as the crew was preparing to restart production, and that’s when the oil was spilled.

The exact volumes have yet to be confirmed, but the current estimate is 250 cubic metres, or 250,000 litres.

The standby vessel Atlantic Hawk was dispatched to investigate, and confirmed an oil sheen on the water.

Production is currently shut down again.

“Any spill is a concern to us,” wrote McConnell. “We have deployed tracker buoys from the Hawk and SeaRose and a PAL observation flight is underway.”

McConnell said sea states are preventing containment and recovery operations, but onshore staff and contractors have been activated and authorities have been notified.

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