Nfld. & Labrador

Drilling suspended after 2nd rig spill

Officials have halted work on an oil rig working east of St. John's after a small amount of drilling mud was spilled — the second incident within a month.
The GSF Grand Banks drilling rig has been working at the White Rose oil field southeast of St. John's. (Courtesy Shipspotting)

Officials have halted work on an oil rig working east of St. John's after a small amount of drilling mud was spilled — the second incident within a month.

About 600 litres of synthetic-based mud spilled from the GSF Grand Banks, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board reported Thursday. The rig has been working at the White Rose oil field.

Husky Energy, which operates the White Rose project, has shut down drilling activity at the rig and is investigating the cause, the board said.

"A small amount of discoloration of the water from SBM was noticed on the surface for approximately 3-4 minutes before being dispersed by wave motion," the board's statement said.

The incident is the second since just last month aboard the same rig. On Sept. 20, about 5,000 litres of synthetic drilling mud — a dense liquid used to lubricate drilling pipes and to balance reservoir pressure — were spilled at the GSF Grand Banks.