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UPDATED: Flowline connector recovery going according to plan: Husky

The flowline connector – which is used to connect underwater oil pipes to the White Rose Extension basin – is what failed on Nov. 16, causing 250,000 litres of oil to spill into the Atlantic Ocean.
The flowline connector – which is used to connect underwater oil pipes to the White Rose Extension basin – is what failed on Nov. 16, causing 250,000 litres of oil to spill into the Atlantic Ocean. Husky began operations Friday to recover the connector. - Contributed

Residual oil released during operations estimated less than one litre

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

As activities to recover the flowline connector continued Saturday, Husky Energy provided an update of the progress just before 5 p.m.

So far, five of the eight bolts have been removed from the flowline connector, according to a Husky spokesperson.

The plan is that once the connector is disconnected from the flowline, it will be placed in a recovery basket for retrieval to surface and plugs will be inserted into the ends of flowline.

The connector will be sent for forensic analysis.

According to Husky, the operation to recover the flowline connector began shortly after 7 a.m. on Saturday, once safety and wildlife checks were completed and on-scene aerial surveillance was confirmed.

“We did see some residual oil released during operations but it was not observed at surface. The volumes are estimated at less than one litre,” a Husky spokesperson wrote.

The spokesperson said no seabirds have been seen “in the immediate operational area” since Saturday morning.

Earlier story:

Activities to recover the flowline connector continue Saturday at the White Rose Field, according to Husky Energy.

In an email, a Husky spokesperson said activities resumed around 7 a.m. Saturday morning once daily safety and wildlife monitoring checks were completed, and aerial surveillance was on scene.

The first step is disconnecting the bolts from the ends of the flowline and then placing the flowline connectors into the recovery basket. That work is ongoing as of noon on Saturday.

According to Husky, there were three seabirds spotted flying in the area in the morning.

Earlier story:

Operations to recover a faulty flowline connector at the South White Rose Extension is going according to plan, according to Husky Energy.

Operations began shortly after 7 a.m. local time once the on-scene commander confirmed that all pre-conditions were met and it was safe to proceed. This included: pre-deployment of spill response equipment, on scene aerial surveillance and regular wildlife observations.

Friday’s main focus was disconnecting bolts from the flowline connector, Husky said. That work was projected to continue until darkness Friday evening and resume Saturday.

Once disconnected from the flowline, the connector will be placed in a recovery basket for retrieval to surface and plugs will be inserted into the ends of flowline. The connector will be sent for forensic analysis, Husky said

“As projected, we did see some oil surface once we started working on the component. This was managed by our spill response vessel, the Maersk Detector using agreed operational protocols,” Husky said in a release Friday. “Total volumes are estimated at less than one litre.

Absorbent material has been placed over the flowline connector to further reduce the risk of oil being released to surface.”

A wildlife survey conducted Thursday before operations began identified four seabirds in a 54-km area near the site. A few seabirds were sighted in the area Friday — none were oiled, Husky noted, adding that wildlife observers are conducting hourly observations from both the Skandi Vinland and the Maersk Detector.

Last Nov. 16, 250,000-litres of oil spilled into the ocean after a flowline connector failed near the South White Rose Extension drill centre, about 350 kilometres east of St. John's. The SeaRose FPSO vessel was attempting to restart oil production after a shutdown due to a storm when the spill occurred.

Since the incident, inspections have also been completed on the SeaRose hull, topsides and mooring system. Husky also completed additional risk assessments, reviewed start up procedures, updated its adverse weather guidelines and completed a safety review.

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