Production suspended on Terra Nova oil vessel off Newfoundland

Production suspended on Terra Nova oil vessel off Newfoundland

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Petroleum Board has ordered a production shut-down on the Terra Nova floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which is operated by Suncor Energy.

According to a statement issued Thursday, C-NLOPB’s chief safety officer found that an ongoing problem with a fire water pump, as well as the time it would take to fix the pump, puts Suncor in violation of maintenance and safety regulations.

“The C-NLOPB considers that the failure in Suncor’s management system to detect and prevent the above non-compliances and the decision to continue to operate the FPSO with those non-compliances to amount to a serious safety matter,” reads a notice of non-compliance sent to Suncor by the C-NLOPB officer on Dec. 19.

According to that notice, the C-NLOPB flagged the issue for Suncor a number of times.

A release from the C-NLOPB says production can resume once Suncor has addressed the issue to the chief safety officer’s liking.

The Terra Nova FPSO operated in the Terra Nova oil field, about 350 kilometres east of St. John’s. The field was discovered in the 1980s and first oil was in January, 2002.

Just how big are the oil prospects offshore Newfoundland? Billions-of-barrels big

It was the second oil field developed off Newfoundland and the first in North America to use an FPSO in what is considered to be a harsh-weather environment.

This spring, Suncor announced a project to extend the life of the FPSO by an extra ten years, taking it into operation until 2031. That work will begin in 2020.

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