The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) is responding to statements made in the media, and particularly on the VOCM open line show last evening and in the Saturday edition of The Telegram, that are critical of the industry wide practice of offshore spill reporting, as well as to statements that irresponsibly link environmental management to the recommendations of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry.
The regulations and guidelines for reporting offshore spills and other incidents ensure that the Operators, which are the oil companies that hold an operating authorization from the C-NLOPB, carry the ultimate legal responsibility for reporting. The Board has the duty to assure itself that this responsibility is properly and diligently discharged. The current reporting practice is entirely consistent with other industries and jurisdictions. The Board is not aware of any jurisdiction – offshore or otherwise – where a full-time observer is required on-site at all times. The Board is of the view that employment of regulatory personnel as full-time observers of industrial operations occurs only when there is evidence of pervasive and flagrant disregard for the regulatory system, persistently poor operating practices, or both. The Board emphasizes if there were evidence of such behavior by an Operator in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore, that company would not be granted an operating authorization, or would have its existing operating authorization revoked. The Board is satisfied that the existing reporting and auditing processes are working as intended and is unaware of any circumstances respecting Newfoundland and Labrador offshore operations that would cause us to alter our position.
The Board believes that a crucial goal of the offshore regulatory structure is to ensure that personnel employed by offshore operators, and particularly members of the offshore workforce, are cognizant of the need to perform their duties in a safe and environmentally prudent manner, are competent to perform these duties, have the systems and procedures in place to enable this, and conscientiously follow these systems and procedures in practice. To ensure this, Board staff conducts a detailed review of Operators’ safety and environmental management systems prior to approving activities, monitors reports from offshore drilling and production operations on a daily basis and conducts detailed safety and environmental audits offshore. The Board also receives radar satellite imagery reports and aerial surveillance reports.
The Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry did not examine matters surrounding environmental management. The Commissioner did not recommend a separate board for environmental matters. Statements that link the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry to environmental matters do a disservice to the work of the Inquiry and the important recommendations that are now being implemented by the C-NLOPB.
The C-NLOPB takes its environmental protection responsibilities seriously and follows up with Operators on every spill. The Board conducted a full and thorough investigation into the March 28 spill of 26,400 litres of synthetic based mud (SBM) from the MODU Henry Goodrich. The Board’s investigation report has now been referred to the federal prosecutor for a decision on whether or not to proceed with charges.
Operators are required to report all spills to the C-NLOPB in accordance with the Atlantic Accord Act and regulations. The C-NLOPB also issues Guidelines for Reporting and Investigation of Incidents which describes how reporting is to be done by Operators. The C-NLOPB reports all spills greater than one litre by Operator and facility on its website as received. Spills less than one litre are reported on a quarterly basis on the website. The environmental effects of discharges and spills from producing installations are studied and environmental effects monitoring reports (EEM Reports) are posted on the Board’s website.
Sean Kelly M.A.,APR, FCPRS
Manager of Public Relations
(709) 689-0713 (cell)
|2011, Dec 22||Corridor Environmental Assessment for Exploration Licence 1105 Filed with Independent Reviewer|
|2011, Dec 21||C-NLOPB Invites Comments on Draft Scoping Document for Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area Strategic Environmental Assessment Update|
|2011, Nov 16||C-NLOPB Releases Results for 2011 Calls for Bids NL11-01, NL11-02 and NL11-03|
|2011, Nov 2||Corridor Environmental Assessment for Exploration Licence 1105 Filed with the C-NLOPB|
|2011, Nov 1||C-NLOPB Conducts Offshore Safety Forum|
|2011, Oct 18||Offshore Incident Reporting by Operators Consistent with other Industries|
|2011, Oct 14||C-NLOPB Comments on S-92 Helicopter Incident in Gulf of Mexico|
|2011, Oct 5||2011 Call for Nominations|
|2011, Sep 21||C-NLOPB Comments on Bristow Norway S-92A Grounding|
|2011, Aug 25||C-NLOPB Announces Independent Review of Proposed Drilling on Exploration Licence 1105 (Old Harry)|
|2011, Aug 19||C-NLOPB Releases 2010-11 Annual Report|
|2011, Aug 18||C-NLOPB Responds to Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry Phase II Report|
|2011, Aug 16||C-NLOPB to Conduct Extensive Public Consultations on EL 1105 (Old Harry) Proposal|
|2011, Aug 15||C-NLOPB Releases Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry Report, Phase II|
|2011, Jul 6||C-NLOPB Appoints Miller Ayre as Commissioner for Hebron Development Application Public Review|
|2011, Jul 4||C-NLOPB Sets the Record Straight on AG Audit Request|
|2011, Jun 13||C-NLOPB Recommends a Mediator or Panel Review of Proposed Old Harry Exploration Well in the Gulf of St. Lawrence|
|2011, Jun 6||Drilling and Production Guidelines Updated|
|2011, Jun 3||New Definitions for Reserves and Resources|
|2011, Jun 3||C-NLOPB Releases Further Documentation Relating to the Hebron Development Plan Application|
|2011, May 16||Hebron Benefits Plan Filed with the C-NLOPB|
|2011, May 12||C-NLOPB Announces 2011 Calls for Bids|
|2011, Apr 21||Hebron Development Application Filed With the C-NLOPB|
|2011, Apr 5||C-NLOPB Responds to Criticism about Spill Reporting|
|2011, Mar 15||C-NLOPB says it was not Notified of Board Appointment|
|2011, Feb 25||Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Draft Scoping Document Exploration Drilling Project – EL 1105|
|2011, Feb 9||C-NLOPB Says it will Review the TSB Report and Decide Next Steps|