Quantcast

250,000 Liters of Crude Spills off Newfoundland Coast

Energy
The SeaRose FPSO and offshore support vessels. Berardo62 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

An estimated 250,000 liters (66,000 gallons) of crude spilled from the SeaRose FPSO, a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, in the White Rose oil and gas field off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Husky Energy, the operator responsible, said the spill happened on Friday when the SeaRose FPSO "experienced a loss of pressure" in an oil flowline, according to the Canadian Press.


The incident occurred while Husky was preparing to restart production that was halted on Thursday due to bad weather.

Federal-provincial regulators said Sunday "there is no reason to believe ... that this is an ongoing spill, and it is believed to be a 'batch spill.'"

However, Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady told CBC's St. John's Morning Show Monday there is no way to be sure that the leak has been contained, as poor weather conditions and rough seas have made it impossible to send remotely operated underwater vehicles to take stock of the damage.

"This is an ongoing situation," she said. "The consideration of how much oil has been let go and what the effects are of this spill is ongoing."

The release has become the largest oil spill in Newfoundland offshore history, CBC reporter Chris O'Neill-Yates tweeted on Sunday.

Husky has shut-in and secured all of its wells and halted production and drilling operations, according to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), the federal agency that regulates the area's petroleum production. The regulator has launched a formal investigation into the spill and will release its findings when available.

The spill, however, "showed that the risks in offshore oil activity can never be underestimated, especially in our harsh environment," the board noted. It said the storm that rolled through last week was "the worst this region has seen offshore since the Ocean Ranger disaster in 1982."

Four surveillance flights and an offshore support vessel have been deployed since Friday to help assess the extent of the spill and to look for any effects on wildlife, the C-NLOPB said. So far, no marine life or seabirds in the vicinity of the spill and its trajectory appear to be affected, it added.

But Bill Montevecchi, who studies seabirds at Newfoundland's Memorial University, expressed concern over the area's wildlife, which could include tens of thousands of murres and dovekies, the CBC reported. He warned that the free-floating oil could separate the seabirds' plumage, meaning cold water could penetrate to the birds' skin and cause them to freeze to death.

He added that Husky should not have resumed production during inclement weather.

"What we're seeing is not an accident. It is the outcome of weak regulation," he told the CBC. "The platform, which had shut down presumably because of storm sea conditions on the Grand Bank, was then going back into operation at a time when clearly it should not have been doing that."

"It's like playing Russian roulette and the bullet just happened to be in the chamber on this one. That should not be an option," Montevecchi said.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

JPM / Getty Images

Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

Read More Show Less
Denali national park. Domen Jakus / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Stephanie Gagnon

Happy National Parks Week! This year, between April 20 and 28, escape to the beautiful national parks — either in person or in your imagination — and celebrate the amazing wildlife that calls these spaces home.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Beer packs of Guinness will now come in a cardboard box. Diageo

By Jordan Davidson

Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Maskot / Getty Images

People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.

Read More Show Less

Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky released a 7-minute climate change awareness song and video today, ahead of Earth Day on Monday, with proceeds going to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

The New York City Council passed the world's "largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward" on Thursday afternoon, marking a major milestone in the fight against the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less