Nfld. court fines former Husky Oil Operations $2.5M over record 2018 oil spill

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Husky Oil Operations Limited has been ordered to pay $2.5 million after the company pleaded guilty to a 2018 crude oil release that occurred offshore in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador heard that the oil company released an estimated 250,000 litres of crude oil into the environment due to a failure of a subsea flowline connector from the SeaRose floating production, storage and offloading installation. 

The spill occurred during a storm about 350 kilometres off the Newfoundland coast. It is estimated to be the largest offshore crude oil spill in the province’s history. 

In November of 2018, 17 potentially oiled birds were observed from offshore vessels and platforms, seven of which were captured, according to an enforcement notification from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

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An oiled bird was also discovered on December 4, 2018. These observations, and subsequent laboratory analyses, confirmed that the oil release affected various migratory birds.

Husky pleaded guilty to one charge under the federal Fisheries Act and one charge under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.

The company was also ordered to pay $500,000 for having ceased work that was likely to cause pollution and then resuming it without ensuring it could be done safely and without pollution. The additional offence was under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act that was investigated by conservation officers with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

Husky Oil Operations Limited was a subsidiary of Husky Energy, which was acquired by Cenovus Energy in 2021. 

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