Canada: Offshore Safety Watchdog Lays Charges for 2019 Oil Spill

July 6, 2022

Hibernia oil slick in mid-July 2019 - Credit: C-NLOPB
Hibernia oil slick in mid-July 2019 - Credit: C-NLOPB

Offshore oil and gas safety regulator The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has laid three charges against Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) for alleged offenses related to a spill of petroleum from the Hibernia Platform offshore Canada on July 17, 2019.

HMDC operates the giant Hibernia Oil platform, located 315 kilometers east southeast of St. John’s. According to C-NLOPB reports from July 2019, around 12.000 liters (~75,5 barrels) of oil spilled into the ocean during the incident.

C-NLOPB said Tuesday that two of the three charges relate to contraventions of the Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Drilling and Production Regulations whereby C-NLOPB Officers allege that HMDC: did not ensure that work or activity that was likely to cause pollution, ceased without delay; and did not ensure compliance with their management system by failing to follow their processes for managing the associated risks for identified hazards.

The third charge relates to a violation of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, namely, "no person shall cause or permit a spill on or from any portion of the Offshore Area."

All three contraventions constitute offenses pursuant to paragraph 194(1)(a) of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, C-NLOPB said.

"The first appearance is scheduled for August 24, 2022, at Provincial Court in St. John’s. As this matter is now before the courts, the C-NLOPB will not be commenting further at this time," the company said.

HMDC members are ExxonMobil Canada (33.125%), Chevron Canada Resources (26.875%), Suncor (20%), Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation (8.5%), Murphy Oil (6.5%), and Equinor Canada Ltd. (5%).



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