Another oil spill at Hibernia platform offshore Canada

Another oil spill has occurred aboard the HMDC-operated Hibernia platform in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Canada, just days after regulators gave approval for HMDC to resume production that had been shut following the July oil spill.

To remind, the offshore regulator on Thursday issued approval to Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) to resume production operations at the Hibernia platform.

However, C-NLOPB on Sunday said there had been another discharge – 2,184 liters of oil – over the weekend.

“Shortly after 21:00 on Saturday, August 17, 2019, the C-NLOPB was notified of an incident at the Hibernia platform where, as a result of the loss of main power generation, the facility experienced a discharge to sea when its deluge system inadvertently activated, causing drains to overflow. HMDC has confirmed that there were no issues regarding the safety of offshore personnel, and production operations were safely halted following the incident,” C-NLOPB.

Based on results of an overflight of the area at first light on Sunday, August 18, with Canadian Coast Guard personnel on board, the estimated volume of oil on the water was 2,184 litres at that time. The slick was located south of the Hibernia platform, with approximate dimensions 4.0 Nautical miles long by 1.0 Nautical mile wide, C-NLOPB said.

According to the regulator, three vessels were currently on the site undertaking spill response efforts on Sunday, “with additional resources in the air and a fourth vessel en route.”

A tracker buoy has been deployed and wildlife monitoring efforts are underway, with no reports of affected wildlife at this point, the regulator informed on Sunday.

Frequency of incidents ‘concerning’

“It is not known at this point whether there is any connection between the loss of power and the August 17 discharge and the restart of production operations on August 15. The C-NLOPB will consider this as part of its regulatory oversight,” the regulator added.

“The nature and frequency of these incidents in our offshore area are obviously concerning,” said Scott Tessier, CEO of the C-NLOPB. “The C-NLOPB is focusing its efforts on driving enhanced operator performance with respect to the prevention of spills and improvements in compliance. Decisions on enforcement actions in these matters will follow the completion of our investigations under the Atlantic Accord Implementation Acts.”

Worth noting this is the smallest of the three reported recent discharges. The July spill from Hibernia was estimated at around 12.000 liters of oil. Back in November, Husky accidentally spilled 250,000 liters at the White Rose offshore field, Newfoundland and Labrador’s biggest ever oil spill.

As for the latest spill. the C-NLOPB said it was sending personnel offshore to Hibernia and that next steps in response to the August 17 incident would be determined once more information is available.

“Production operations are not to resume at Hibernia without the approval of the C-NLOPB. The C-NLOPB’s investigations into the November 2018 spill by Husky Energy at the White Rose Field and the July 2019 spill at the Hibernia platform continue, the regulator said,” C-NLOPB added.

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