News Releases 2011

Offshore Incident Reporting by Operators Consistent with other Industries

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2011

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.

Media Contact:
Sean Kelly M.A.,APR, FCPRS
Manager of Public Relations
(709) 778-1418
(709) 689-0713 (cell)

News Releases 2011

2011, Dec 22Corridor Environmental Assessment for Exploration Licence 1105 Filed with Independent Reviewer
2011, Dec 21C-NLOPB Invites Comments on Draft Scoping Document for Western Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Area Strategic Environmental Assessment Update
2011, Nov 16C-NLOPB Releases Results for 2011 Calls for Bids NL11-01, NL11-02 and NL11-03
2011, Nov 2Corridor Environmental Assessment for Exploration Licence 1105 Filed with the C-NLOPB
2011, Nov 1C-NLOPB Conducts Offshore Safety Forum
2011, Oct 18Offshore Incident Reporting by Operators Consistent with other Industries
2011, Oct 14C-NLOPB Comments on S-92 Helicopter Incident in Gulf of Mexico
2011, Oct 52011 Call for Nominations
2011, Sep 21C-NLOPB Comments on Bristow Norway S-92A Grounding
2011, Aug 25C-NLOPB Announces Independent Review of Proposed Drilling on Exploration Licence 1105 (Old Harry)
2011, Aug 19C-NLOPB Releases 2010-11 Annual Report
2011, Aug 18C-NLOPB Responds to Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry Phase II Report
2011, Aug 16C-NLOPB to Conduct Extensive Public Consultations on EL 1105 (Old Harry) Proposal
2011, Aug 15C-NLOPB Releases Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry Report, Phase II
2011, Jul 6C-NLOPB Appoints Miller Ayre as Commissioner for Hebron Development Application Public Review
2011, Jul 4C-NLOPB Sets the Record Straight on AG Audit Request
2011, Jun 13C-NLOPB Recommends a Mediator or Panel Review of Proposed Old Harry Exploration Well in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
2011, Jun 6Drilling and Production Guidelines Updated
2011, Jun 3New Definitions for Reserves and Resources
2011, Jun 3C-NLOPB Releases Further Documentation Relating to the Hebron Development Plan Application
2011, May 16Hebron Benefits Plan Filed with the C-NLOPB
2011, May 12C-NLOPB Announces 2011 Calls for Bids
2011, Apr 21Hebron Development Application Filed With the C-NLOPB
2011, Apr 5C-NLOPB Responds to Criticism about Spill Reporting
2011, Mar 15C-NLOPB says it was not Notified of Board Appointment
2011, Feb 25Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Draft Scoping Document Exploration Drilling Project – EL 1105
2011, Feb 9C-NLOPB Says it will Review the TSB Report and Decide Next Steps