Husky Energy said Monday it is “deeply sorry” for two back-to-back spills that sent a total of 250,000 litres of a oil, water and gas into the ocean last month, and said it is making changes to prevent it from happening again. 

The two spills occurred within an hour of each other on Nov. 16, the oil giant revealed in a statement Monday. 

Husky’s preliminary investigation is now in the hands of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), after the company submitted its preliminary report on Friday. 

The spill happened  when a flowline connector failed near the South White Rose Extension drill centre, about 350 kilometres east of St. John’s, according to a media release.

The SeaRose floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) tried to restart oil production — on a day when waves were recorded at 8.4 metres or about 28 feet — and that’s when problems arose.

According to Husky Energy, this connector is the culprit. (Submitted by Husky Energy)

“The incident happened while warm crude from the SeaRose was being circulated through the subsea network to warm up the flowlines prior to restarting production,” the media release said.   

“The investigation to date has confirmed there were two fluid releases containing a mix of oil, water and gas.”

The first spill happened during the 20 minutes when offshore teams were troubleshooting a drop in flowline pressure, and the second one happened during a 15-minute window. 

“We are deeply sorry for the incident and are committed to learning from it and putting measures in place to ensure it does not happen again,” the company said in a statement.

Changes to its bad weather to-do list

Husky said its revising its adverse weather policy to include “more formality” around restarting production. 

The company said it is also working on improving how it handles or deals with non-standard or infrequent conditions. 

“We have implemented enhanced oversight on critical activities to raise the awareness of potential risks and providing team back up,” the statement said. 

Husky had drawn criticism from politicians and the C-NLOPB while it stayed silent for several days after the spill.

The incident also raised questions about why Husky would have tried to restart production in the bad weather and why the C-NLOPB, as a regulator, wouldn’t make that call. 

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

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