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Drilling fluid spills from Suncor's Transocean Barents rig Friday

About 28,000 litres of synthetic drilling fluid spilled from the Transocean Barents rig in the Terra Nova oil field Friday.
About 28,000 litres of synthetic drilling fluid spilled from the Transocean Barents rig in the Terra Nova oil field Friday. - Submitted

Suncor Energy’s Transocean Barents accidentally discharged 28,000 litres of synthetic based mud (SBM) on Friday.

The mobile offshore drilling unit is in the Terra Nova field, about 350 kilometres from St John’s.

The cause of the unauthorized discharge is under investigation.

Suncor spokesperson Paul Newmarch said on Saturday that he can’t say right now how long that investigation will take.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) sent a series of tweets Saturday morning on Twitter and stated that drilling operations will not resume until it is safe to do so and until Suncor has received approval from C-NLOPB’s chief conservation officer.

“The root cause of this incident is being investigated, as well as any remedial actions that need to be taken to prevent others from occurring in the future,” said Newmarch.

Newmarch said SBM, which is used in drilling offshore wells, is non-toxic to humans, marine life, and wildlife, but added Suncor is “closely monitoring for any potential effects offshore.”

Newmarch said they received reports of the unauthorized discharge at about 2 p.m. Friday.

“As soon as we were notified, we responded, mobilized the response team and then the release was stopped.”

He was unable to confirm how many people were working on the drilling unit at the time of the discharge, or how much time passed between when the discharge began and when the response team was notified.

C-NLOPB stated on Twitter that the well is safe, there were no injuries to workers, and no seabirds or marine life were “observed in the area.”

The Board also wrote that they’re monitoring Suncor’s investigation and response, and are working on issuing an incident bulletin.

The Canadian Coast Guard was also notified.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

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