Nfld. & Labrador

Oil sheen spotted offshore came from Hibernia oil platform, company confirms

Hibernia's operator says it is monitoring the discharge of oil and water into the ocean that happened Wednesday morning on its platform southeast of St. John's.

Oil and water discharged Wednesday morning from a storage cell

Hibernia confirmed a mix of oil and water was discharged Wednesday morning from one of the platform's storage cells. (HMDC)

Hibernia's operator says it is monitoring the discharge of oil and water into the ocean that happened Wednesday morning on its platform southeast of St. John's.

The sheen, initially estimated to be 20 metres by 900 metres, is being monitored and is dissipating, said a news release from Hibernia Management and Development Company.

The platform is about 315 kilometres southeast of St. John's.

The company pointed to a leak of oil and water, discharged from a storage cell, as the culprit.

It called the discharge an "isolated activity," and said the oil platform is still operating. No one was injured.

The amount leaked is not yet known, as HMDC said it's working to determine the volume.

HMDC said it has been mechanically dispersing the oil mix, as well as using sorbent booms to soak up discharge from the ocean surface.

HMDC has notified the Newfoundland and Labrador government, as well as the offshore regulating body the C-NLOPB and other stakeholders, of the incident. Six companies own shares in Hibernia — ExxonMobil Canada, Chevron Canada and Suncor are the largest.

Oil spill scrutiny

The province's offshore oil industry has come under scrutiny in recent months, after the largest oil spill in its history occurred in November from a flowline near the South White Rose Extension, about five kilometres from Husky Energy's SeaRose production facility, about 350 kilometres from St. John's.

 An estimated 250,000 litres of oil flowed into the Atlantic in back-to-back spills during a winter storm. Husky blamed the incident on a faulty connector.

That spill prompted changes to company policy and a C-NLOPB investigation.

Hibernia has also dealt with oil spills in its operation. In 2017, HMDC had to pay $250,000 in connection with a 2013 spill at the platform. 

There are currently four platforms producing oil off the eastern coast of Newfoundland. Hibernia was the province's first, and started producing oil in 1997.

It had produced one billion barrels of oil by 2016.

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