ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Husky restarted oil production off Newfoundland this week, but the company hasn’t yet determined how to repair the connector responsible for November’s oil spill.
The company halted production for more than two months in the White Rose oil field following a Nov. 16 oil spill of an estimated 250,000 litres.
The spill came during a production restart as a fierce storm began to wane. It was believed to be the largest in the history of the province’s offshore industry.
Earlier this week, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board approved Husky’s restart at one drill centre that uses a separate flowline from the one where the leak originated.
Oil was flowing from one well in the drill centre on Wednesday, with more to follow in the coming weeks.
The board also approved Husky’s plan to retrieve the faulty flowline connector and bring it up for examination.
Husky senior vice-president Trevor Pritchard said it could be weeks before a two-day weather window appears for the company to retrieve the connector, plug the flowline and flush it with water.
“Once we’ve achieved that, we can then install an engineered solution, whatever that might be,” Pritchard said on Wednesday.
Once the connector is retrieved, an engineering solution to repair the flowline will be presented to the offshore board for approval.
In the meantime, key operations are to happen during daylight hours, as a condition of the regulator’s approval.
Other conditions will require aerial and vessel surveillance, operational and wildlife observers on board and monitoring of Husky’s onshore activities.
Work is still suspended at the other four drill sites in the oil field, awaiting approval from the regulatory authority to restart.
Leak testing still needs to be done on the other drill centres, Pritchard said.
Husky said in a news release that adverse weather guidelines were updated and risk assessments and safety reviews were completed before restarting work at the drill centre.
The offshore board’s investigation into the November spill is still ongoing.