November 19, 2018 / 9:38 PM / 22 days ago

Husky assesses damage after oil spill curbs Canadian offshore production

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Underwater surveys began on Monday after an oil spill off Canada’s Atlantic coast, as Husky Energy Inc and government agencies assessed a leak that shut down all crude production in the waters of Newfoundland & Labrador.

A leaking flowline from Husky’s White Rose Field to the SeaRose storage vessel was detected on Friday, as Husky was restarting production after suspending operations a day earlier due to stormy weather.

The spill included 250 cubic meters (1,572 barrels) of oil, Husky spokeswoman Colleen McConnell said on Monday. She said the company is monitoring the area for oil sheens and any impact on wildlife.

The leak forced Husky’s White Rose to shut down, along with all other producing oil projects in the area until the regulator, Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, determines it is safe to resume, the board said in a statement on Sunday.

Along with White Rose, there are three other producing projects off the shore of Newfoundland — Exxon Mobil Corp’s Hebron and Hibernia fields, and the Suncor Energy Inc -operated Terra Nova.

That production, a combined 280,000 barrels per day, is unlikely to affect markets significantly, with global storage levels high and a likely quick return to production, said Mark Oberstoetter, director of upstream Canada for consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Environmental groups said that while government and industry have said they can protect oceans from the risks of an offshore spill, the reality is more complicated.

“This is the inevitable nightmare scenario where extreme weather is making it impossible to determine how much oil has been spilled, much less try to clean it up,” said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada.

There were no injuries to oil workers during the storm, one of the worst in decades, the Newfoundland & Labrador regulator said on Sunday. A spokeswoman for the regulator did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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