Investigation launched into fluid spill at Suncor rig

Investigation launched into fluid spill at Suncor rig

The regulatory body for the offshore oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador has started a formal probe of an incident last month when synthetic based mud (SBM) spilled from the mobile offshore drilling unit Transocean Barents.

After the initial incident on April 27, when 28,000 litres of SBM drilling fluid were discharged into the Atlantic Ocean, Suncor Energy suspended production at the facility.

On May 3 the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) cleared Suncor to resume drilling operations at the site in the Terra Nova field about 350km southeast of St John’s.

C-NLOPB made that decision based on the judgement that Suncor had taken appropriate measure after the spill and that equipment failure had not been the cause.

But then, on May 11 Suncor provided C-NLOPB with its preliminary investigation report.

Based on that report’s contents the C-NLOPB has issued the company a notice of non-compliance and decided to launch its own investigation of the spill.

Further possible enforcement action depends on what this investigation finds but options include suspension or revocation of the operator’s authorization or the start of a prosecution against them.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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