Photo: Hibernia; Source: ExxonMobil

HMDC shuts in Hibernia production following fluid discharge

Production from the HMDC-operated Hibernia platform offshore Newfoundland, Canada, has been shut-in following a discharge of drilling and production fluids.

Hibernia Management and Development Company (HMDC) said on Monday that it observed a sheen 2.5 kilometres from the Hibernia production platform.

The company added that all personnel on the platform, located 315 kilometres east southeast of Newfoundland and Labrador, were safe.

Namely, water sampling late on July 19, during drill well flow back operations, indicated an exceedance on the produced water discharge.

Following the discharge, HMDC immediately shut in the Hibernia production. The discharge, which is a mixture of drilling and productions fluids, was observed by a vessel dispatched to conduct visual observations. The vessel reported a light sheen with no observed wildlife impacts.

It is worth noting that the company reported low visibility offshore due to weather conditions and that observations from PAL surveillance flights on Monday could not confirm the sheen.

HMDC has begun investigating the incident and stated that it had the resources to respond appropriately. The company further stated that it notified the Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB).

In a separate statement on Tuesday, the C-NLOPB said that monitoring continues from the platform and vessels dispatched to conduct visual observations. Also, a remotely operated vehicle was deployed subsea and confirmed there is no continuous release.

The C-NLOPB is actively monitoring HMDC’s response to the incident with other agencies. Decisions on possible regulatory enforcement action will follow in due course.

Spills not a rare occurrence

Hibernia had two small-scale oil spills during 2019. Namely, the first oil spill happened in July when 12.000 litres of oil (75.48 barrels) was estimated to have been spilt from the platform. The platform was shut in as a result.

Only days after the C-NLOPB told HMDC it could restart production, a second oil spill happened.

At the time, the estimated volume of oil spilt from Hibernia was 2,184 litres. After a probe into the two spills, HMDC was given the go-ahead to resume production from Hibernia some month and a half after the second spill.

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