Why Husky Energy needed a culture change following 2017 iceberg incident
ONE OF TREVOR PRITCHARD’S KEY TASKS when he took over as Husky Energy’s top executive in Atlantic Canada was to deal with the fallout of the SeaRose iceberg incident.
On March 29, 2017 an iceberg entered SeaRose’s 0.25 nautical mile Ice Exclusion Area. The Calgary-based company’s Ice Management Plan required it to be disconnected and sail away. Instead, the 84 people on board SeaRose―the floating production, storage and offloading vessel located at Husky’s White Rose oil field―were at one point told to brace for the impact of an iceberg that was estimated to have a mass of between 58,000-68,000 tonnes.
The iceberg never hit the SeaRose (pictured above), but the close call saw the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) launch an enquiry into the incident. It also cost Malcolm MacLean, Husky’s senior vice-president for the Atlantic region since 2012, his job. Pritchard replaced him. It’s likely no coincidence that he was the company’s head of safety before he took on his new role.
The C-NLOPB’s final enquiry report released in August 2018 found that since the iceberg incident occurred, Husky has taken several steps to ensure the events on March 29 never happen again. Some of the key changes include a comprehensive review of its ice management and emergency response plans with improvements made and implemented, changes communicated to onshore and offshore employees with an emphasis on the importance of following procedure, and two independent third party reviews of the Husky organization.
The buck stops with Pritchard though. One of his first tasks when he was appointed was to regain the C-NLOPB’s and the public’s trust when it comes to safety in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore. “The first few weeks [on the job] was getting re-orientated with the business. Getting a licence to operate was the immediate piece to it,” Pritchard says. “With that, it gave me a good insight into how we were managing our management systems, and our reactions and our culture. That’s why we said we’d do some form of cultural transformation. Not that everything is totally broken, but we needed to make some cultural tweaks.”