Monday, September 22, 2008

Off Shore Spills

from the Globe and Mail:

Oil spills off Newfoundland far exceed estimates, study finds


September 16, 2008

The number of oil spills from a pair of drilling projects off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador has already far exceeded preconstruction estimates, a study released this week says, but the statistics are being disputed by the province's regulator.

Husky Energy's White Rose development has had four spills of between one and 50 barrels (up to about 7,500 litres) in volume since opening five years ago, including one last week, the study shows. But in White Rose's predevelopment environmental assessment, it forecast just 2.38 such spills over the entire history of the project - at least 15 years.

Another offshore platform, Petro-Canada's Terra Nova project, forecast 5.3 spills of the same size and has reported at least 34 since 1999, the study charges.

The discrepancies show a failure by the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board to follow up on the mandatory environmental assessments to ensure the forecasts were realistic, said lead researcher Gail Fraser, a bird biologist at York University.


Since 1997, Newfoundland has had 337 spills totalling some 2,700 barrels, or 430,000 litres. The biggest came in 2005, when more than 1,000 barrels spilled from Terra Nova.

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