Wellhead Disaster Averted by 12 Meters in Shell Offshore Drilling Incident on Scotian Shelf
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Toronto Star] [Opinion] by Peter Puxley October 26, 2016
Shell Oil’s Stena IceMAX drill ship, drilling for oil on March 5th, two kilometres below the surface of the Atlantic on the edge of the Scotian Shelf, was the site of what regulators euphemistically call an “incident. ”
Battling unexpectedly high waves, the drill ship crew successfully secured the well and disconnected the ship from the wellhead to protect the operation. Shortly after, the riser, a 2,100 metre-long protective series of 21-inch diameter pipes, each weighing 20 tons, broke free of the drill ship before it moved clear of the site. The riser pipes fell to the ocean floor missing the wellhead by a mere 12 meters.
A Shell investigation of the “incident” was monitored and matched by an internal review by the regulator, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB). The federal/provincial CNSOPB is the equivalent of the National Energy Board, regulating oil industry activity in our offshore.
In June, after receiving Shell’s report on the event, Stuart Pink, the CNSOPB’s chief executive officer, declared, “We are satisfied that the cause of the incident has been properly determined...
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