Weather wreaks havoc on East Coast offshore oil production

Weather wreaks havoc on East Coast offshore oil production

Mother Nature puts a halt to offshore production

November of 2018 proved to be a tough month for oil production in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Nov. 15, Husky Energy Inc. stopped production at its White Rose field due to safety concerns as a severe winter storm hit the Jeanne d’Arc Basin where the field is located. The next day, it started the process of resuming operations “once conditions had returned to normal operating parameters,” the company said on its website. That’s when it was announced 250,000 litres of oil had leaked from a broken connector on a flow line that links the SeaRose floating production and storage platform (pictured) to a drilling site at the White Rose field. It’s the largest oil spill in the province’s history. The spill occurred as Husky was restarting production during the end of that major offshore storm in waves that were recorded at 8.4 metres―or 28 feet.

Production from White Rose was still shut in as this magazine went to press. The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board’s CEO Scott Tessier says the regulator will investigate the incident and see what Husky’s rationale was for trying to restart production in such rough seas. As the storm hit the region, the province’s other fields―Suncor Energy’s Terra Nova, ExxonMobil’s Hebron and Hibernia―also ceased production for safety reasons. As of Nov. 23, Hebron and Hibernia were back in production, while Terra Nova was still shut down.

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