Nfld. & Labrador

How much oil is recovered in average spill? Not much, if any

Production at the Hibernia oil platform remains shut down after its latest oil spill, while monitoring efforts continue in the area.

Visible oil sheen has reportedly dissipated after latest Hibernia spill

Production at the Hibernia offshore oil platform remains shut down, after a spill over the weekend that came 48 hours after production resumed following an earlier spill. (Dave Hynes)

Efforts are underway to recover the oil from the latest spill off the coast of Newfoundland, but it's unlikely much, if any, will be recovered. 

That's according to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), who said clean up efforts are still ongoing after two spills this summer at the Hibernia platform.

The November 2018 spill at Husky Energy's SeaRose FPSO saw 250,000 litres of oil spilled into the Atlantic Ocean — the biggest spill in the history of the province. 

Zero litres of that amount were collected during recovery efforts, both the C-NLOPB and Husky confirmed Thursday.

While every oil spill instance is different, and circumstances vary, the C-NLOPB said a best guess for recovery in ideal conditions is up to an average of just 10 per cent.

There is no update on the amount of oil recovered in either of the recent Hibernia spills, as the collected water and oil mixture is still being processed.

In the most recent C-NLOPB update, the offshore regulator said aerial flights and satellite imagery suggest the oil, from the August spill, has dissipated.

But a vessel is remaining in the Hibernia oil field area to monitor potential areas of interest.

Keeping an eye out for oiled wildlife

To date, there has been no report of wildlife affected by the oil spill over the weekend. Canadian Wildlife officials are providing advice to crews on site, the regulator said, and are engaged in a wildlife monitoring plan.

In the meantime, production remains shut down at Hibernia, and will only resume with approval from the C-NLOPB.

The second oil spill, which Hibernia Management and Development Company said was due to a power outage caused by a fuel valve failure, came 48 hours after the platform resumed production following a spill last month. 

However, the company said the resumption in production and second oil spill do not appear to be related. 

The regulator's investigation into the August spill, as well as the Hibernia spill in July and the massive Husky spill in November 2018, are still ongoing, with no timeline set for completion.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Patrick Butler


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