Husky sues to block release of Henry Goodrich rig reports
Federal Court application seeks to overturn C-NLOPB decision on safety-related records
Husky Oil Operations Limited is going to Federal Court to prevent the release of reports into safety-related incidents on the Henry Goodrich drilling rig.
CBC News filed an access-to-information request for the records earlier this year.
The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) decided to disclose records relevant to the request.
Husky’s court action is aimed at stopping that from happening.
'Husky believes the documents are privileged information under the Atlantic Accord act.'—Husky spokesperson Mel Duvall
Lawyers for the company want "an order setting aside the decision and ordering the board not to disclose the records," according to a Federal Court application filed March 25.
The company wants the hearing to be held in private, with the records in question sealed until a ruling is issued.
"Husky believes the documents are privileged information under the Atlantic Accord act," company spokesperson Mel Duvall noted in a statement e-mailed to CBC News.
"We have asked for a legal ruling to clarify and help us better understand the parameters."
Those parameters deal with how information provided under the Accord act is to be treated.
The company says it has asked for a legal ruling to help clarify that for all parties.
The C-NLOPB declined comment, saying it does not speak on matters before the courts.
Incident reports required
Offshore rig operators are required to report and investigate all incidents that either caused harm, or could have caused harm, to personnel or the environment.
The same rule applies to events that impair the function of equipment or systems critical to safety.
Those documents are forwarded to the C-NLOPB, which regulates the Newfoundland offshore.
While Husky is going to court to stop the release of its reports involving the Henry Goodrich, the rig's previous operator consented to the same documents being made public.
Suncor did not object to the C-NLOPB’s decision to provide its Henry Goodrich incident reports to CBC News. There were some minor redactions to protect personal privacy.
The most recent Suncor incident report was dated June 21, 2012.
Around a week later, Husky took over as operator of the rig. There were noteworthy incidents on the Henry Goodrich soon after.
Flash fire, dropped object on rig
In early July, a small flash fire broke out on the rig. It was quickly extinguished, and no one was injured. Drilling operations were shut down for nearly a week.
A month later, on Aug. 23, operations were again suspended on the Henry Goodrich following a "dropped object" incident.
At the time, Husky said the object was a 2.4-metre hydraulic cylinder, around 20 centimetres in diameter. C-NLOPB officials called the incident a "near miss." There were no injuries.
Within a week, the rig was towed to a near-shore location in Conception Bay. It went back into service in January, more than four months after the incident.
The Henry Goodrich is currently drilling at North Amethyst, in the White Rose satellite extension, according to the C-NLOPB website.
In 'public interest' to release, board told company
In Federal Court filings, lawyers for Husky insist the records "contain privileged information, third party information and personal information."
Husky cites sections of the federal Access to Information Act and Atlantic Accord legislation to back its stand.
The C-NLOPB agreed in part with the company, Husky’s court application notes, but "took the position that it would be in the public interest to release the records, notwithstanding the privilege."
The board told Husky it would redact certain parts of the records, but release the rest.
That decision is now on hold, pending a Federal Court hearing.
The Henry Goodrich is owned by Transocean Ltd., one of the world’s largest offshore drilling contractors.