Saturday , May 8 2021

"Coarse waters": Leakage raises new questions about the rapidly growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN & N.L. – The ambitious plans of Newfoundland and Labrador broadly extend the province's lucrative offshore oil and gas industry with a sharp disappointment on November 16.

In the midst of a storm, an estimated 250,000 liters of oil landed on the ocean from Husky Energy's SeaRose platform, about 350 miles from St. John's. It was the biggest downturn in the region's offshore industry and has called for regulatory changes.

Critics call for tighter controls in the industry, as well as the province moves to expand the size and range of offshore drilling and quickly.

"This is the case, we hope that it will shine light on laws and how to take offshore oil and gas in Canada and how to regulate it if and when it's going," said Gretchen Fitzgerald Sierra Club, the Canadian Foundation.

"If they intend to do this great industrial activity in the rough waters of the North Atlantic, there must be a better regulatory regime."

There are currently four platforms that produce oil from Newfoundland: Hibernia, Hebron, Terra Nova and SeaRose.

The expansion plans include the proposed 100 new exploration wells and over 650,000 barrels of oil a day by 2030. This long-term vision also includes "shortening the time from prospectivity to production".

Enlargement also brings industry to an unmarked area with the first deep-water drilling site in Bay du Nord in the Flemish vehicle, announcing Norwegian Equinor this summer.

The remote Bay du Nord package, about 500 miles east of St. John's, is located over 1100 feet of water – 10 times deeper than SeaRose, the current deepest area.

Premier Dwight Ball called for a "new frontier" for the offshore industry in the province, but the deep-sea expansion also raises new concerns about the safety of workers and the possibility of quick cleaning if a second leak occurs.

The oil prize promises economically indispensable economic incentives

The Canadian Conference is forecast this month that Newfoundland and Labrador will lead all provinces to economic growth in 2019, only one year after the worst economic outlook in 2018, and oil revenues will receive all credit.

In an interview, Ball said that the tendency for November was "unfortunate" and reiterated its government's prioritization of workers and the environment.

The Prime Minister said that his government would consider regulatory changes, including the results of the SeaRose study, more transparent, public and easy-to-use summaries of operators' security plans.

RELATED: Husky Energy apologizes for the largest oil spill on the Newfoundland coast

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"When this study is completed and completed, if changes have to be made, we are more than willing to implement these changes," Ball said.

The Prime Minister said that his government is seeking other jurisdictions around the world as it intends to expand its industry and prepare for future events in the future.

The Canadian-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) govern the industry's development in the region, as well as its safety and environmental responsibility. The leak occurred when Husky began production on November 16 when the storm began to fall, which was the decision for the company, not for an offshore ship.

Actors like Husky are responsible for complying with their own internal security and environmental plans approved by the government and observing and investigating if things go wrong. SeaRose production stops when the offshore government examines whether the company has followed its own internal procedures.

Husky is working for the government, but Husky's spokesman told by email that the Canadian press "does not publicly disclose its public policy for security and commercial reasons." Critics say that operator transparency is the key to possible reforms, especially when industry attaches to expansion to even more risky circumstances.

Premier Ball invites the industry's record to "fairly solid"

Ball said the government would give Equinor time to thoroughly evaluate the deep-sea borehole before the construction in provisional form in 2020.

He said the government will seek other jurisdictions when it is preparing for new deep-sea companies and adds that it keeps record records fairly clean in the long term.

"Our tracking, when you look at it is pretty solid," said Ball.

RELATED: N.L.'s largest oil spill is impossible to clean up: the Regulatory Council

The province's offshore industry has no history of significant oil spills, but it is a devastating tragedy. 1982 The memory of the Ocean Ranger catastrophe continues to challenge the province. The offshore hardware sank during a severe storm and requires the lives of all 84 people on board.

In March 2009, Cougar Flight 491 crashed into the ocean carrying workers and staff to the oil field and killed 17 of the 18 people on board. After clarifying the safety of the helicopter, Commissioner Robert Wells in 2010 called Newfoundland offshore conditions "probably in the fierce offshore world", which refers to bitter cold water, high winds, sea ice, fog, severe seabed and long helicopter flights.

Wells recommended the establishment of a separate and independent security regulator for the offshore industry in the province. The NDP's recommendation suggested the latest SeaRose leak and asked the Prime Minister to draw up a separate Security and Environment Board similar to that in Norway and the United Kingdom.

Lana Payne, the US regional regional office, representing about 700 offshore oil suppliers on Hibernia and Terra Nova, said the industry has seen some improvements for security reasons after a helicopter safety survey. But he said that the trade union still has more room, including the establishment of a separate Security and Environment Board, especially in the light of the recent call.

"You should never use this word around security, but we just felt that we were lucky," Payne said.

Husky did not comply with the ice management plan for the ice cold in 2017

The SeaRose board had 81 people during the leak, and even though there were no injuries, the event brought to light another security situation at the same platform long ago. A survey by the Offshore Board showed that the company did not comply with its ice management plan in 2017 when approaching a large iceberg. The lorry did not detach when the iceberg approached, and 84 people and 340,000 barrels of crude oil rose to the ship.

According to Fitzgerald, the environment in Canada and the Fisheries and Ocean Fisheries Department should have regulatory powers to enable people with more environmental expertise to monitor the industry. Adding federal participation to industry would also help to keep national environmental priorities such as climate change and protect endangered species, Fitzgerald said.

Payne said at a minimum that the regulator needed more expertise and staffing for a rapidly growing sector.

"There is a lot of pressure on the system to get things done quickly, and when you do it in an environment like offshore, it can go bad," Payne said. "We must do everything we can to make sure it does not happen."

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