C-NLOPB issues final report on SeaRose FPSO iceberg incident

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has released the final enquiry report into SeaRose FPSO’s near-miss incident with an iceberg from March 29, 2017.

SeaRose FPSO; Photo by: Berardo62; Source: Wikimedia - under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license
SeaRose FPSO; Photo by: Berardo62; Source: Wikimedia – under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The C-NLOPB said on Wednesday that all findings from the inquiry were addressed and that it was confident that safety and environmental protection would remain at the forefront of Husky’s operations going forward.


The incident

On March 29, 2017, an iceberg entered the 0.25 nautical mile Ice Exclusion Area of the SeaRose FPSO, located in the White Rose Field, some 350 kilometers east of St. John’s.

The iceberg was approximately 40 meters wide, 60 meters long, and 8 meters high above water.

According to Husky’s Ice Management Plan (IMP) filed with the C-NLOPB, the SeaRose FPSO should have disconnected and sailed away from the threatening iceberg. That action was not taken, and personnel were at one point instructed to muster and “brace for impact.” There were 84 personnel and more than 340,000 barrels of crude onboard at that time.

The iceberg did not make contact with the SeaRose FPSO or subsea infrastructure. Fortunately, there were no injuries, no environmental damage, and no damage to the FPSO.

C-NLOPB launched a formal investigation on May 9, 2017, which was conducted by C-NLOPB’s Safety and Environmental Compliance Officers.


Suspension and resuming operations

In mid-January 2018, the C-NLOPB suspended all petroleum-related operations on the SeaRose FPSO following preliminary report findings.

Namely, the C-NLOPB determined there were serious issues regarding Husky’s ice management, management systems, and organizational decision-making.

At the time, the Board said: “Based on the inquiry’s preliminary findings, the C-NLOPB lacks full confidence that appropriate action will be taken by the operator during an emergency situation.”

The C-NLOPB withdrew the suspension later that month following appropriate actions which addressed deficiencies identified in the preliminary report.


Final inquiry report

The C-NLOPB said on Wednesday that the findings and contributing factors of the final inquiry report were the same as those in C-NLOPB’s preliminary report.

All contributing factors identified in the preliminary report were addressed to the satisfaction of the Board.

The Board also noted all actions taken by Husky in response to the principal findings of both reports:

  • a comprehensive review of Husky’s ice management and emergency response plans with improvements made and implemented;
  • the completion of an emergency response drill, observed by the C-NLOPB, industry partners, and the offshore facility’s Certifying Authority;
  • significant organizational changes including the appointment of Trevor Pritchard as Senior Vice President, Atlantic Region;
  • changes communicated to onshore and offshore employees with an emphasis on the importance of following procedure;
  • numerous presentations made to partners and internal Husky staff, regarding lessons learned;
  • a presentation at the C-NLOPB’s Spring Safety Forum, outlining the incident and lessons learned;
  • two independent third-party reviews, at both the local and corporate levels of the Husky organization; and
  • plans by Husky to discuss their 2018 ice management initiatives at the upcoming Norwegian Energy Partners Harsh and Cold Climate Solutions Seminar in October, so the improvements from past ice seasons can be shared more broadly.

Scott Tessier, chair and CEO of the C-NLOPB, also presented to the International Regulators Forum (IRF) in June 2018, where he shared the C-NLOPB’s regulatory oversight during the incident, subsequent enquiry and lessons learned by both Husky and the C-NLOPB.

The IRF is a group of regulators from 10 countries, who focus on the health and safety of their offshore upstream oil and gas industries.