Drilling Suspended On Canadian Rig Due to Synthetic Mud Spill

By MarEx 2011-09-21 14:19:59

Canadian Oil Company, Husky Energy, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has had to suspend their drilling operations on Tuesday off of Eastern Canada after approximately 5,000-liters of synthetic mud discharged at the White Rose oilfield.

The Husky Energy rig, about 350-km from Newfoundland, has been spilling synthetic-based drilling fluid that is used to lubricate the drill pipe and balance reservoir pressure by its weight sinking to the sea floor.  It began to discharge during drilling of a development well, Reuters reports. 

Colleen McConnell, a spokeswoman for Husky, stated that the fluid discharged over a shale shaker which had shut down, causing the fluid to overflow the screens and exit through the cutting discharge line.  McConnell added that drilling operations were immediately suspended and shut in the source of the leak. 

The Transocean-owned rig was at the E-18 11 water injection well, and McConnell confirmed that were no injuries.

According to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, the effects of such a spill are limited because the fluid has a low toxicity and there is no visible slick at the field. Despite this, a spokesman for the board, Sean Kelly, told Canadian Business that is still a significant spill, citing that the high-density fluid will coat the sea floor.

It is not confirmed when drilling operations will resume.  An investigation into the incident has already been launched.