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Husky Investigating NatGas Leak Offshore Newfoundland

Husky Energy Inc. said a piece of flexible pipe attached to subsea equipment off the Atlantic Coast of Newfoundland leaked a large amount of natural gas on Monday, but there were no injuries and the company is investigating the cause of the leak.

Mel Duvall, spokesman for Calgary-based Husky, told NGI that treated natural gas used for oil extraction leaked from one of the lines at the company's Southern Drill Center, which is in the White Rose oilfield in offshore Newfoundland. He said the SeaRose, a floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), was moored at the center at the time.

"We immediately shut in the affected line," Duvall said Thursday. "Production at the field continues with minimal impact. The cause is being reviewed and steps will be taken to resume normal operations."

On Wednesday, the Canada-Newfoundland & Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) said Husky estimated that the equivalent of approximately 8.94 metric tons of gas had escaped.

"The leak came from a piece of flexible pipe near the manifold in the subsea equipment that was down there," C-NLOPB spokesman Sean Kelly told NGI on Thursday. "We're not sure if it cracked or what [happened]. It set off alarms on the FPSO and 12 minutes after the alarms sounded they had shut in the wells and shut off the valves."

The C-NLOPB said the Atlantic Osprey, an anchor handling tug supply vessel equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), has been dispatched to the site. Kelly said the incident was not under a formal investigation by the C-NLOPB, but it was following up with Husky.

Kelly said he didn't have any statistics on the size of underwater gas leaks to compare Monday's incident to others, but conceded that "in recent memory, it's probably one of the largest subsea gas leaks."

Husky is the operator and majority owner (72.5% stake) in the White Rose oilfield and its satellite extensions. The oil fields, located on the eastern edge of the Jeanne d'Arc Basin, are approximately 350 kilometers (217 miles) southeast of St. John's, the capital and largest city of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. holds the remaining 27.5% working interest (WI) in the White Rose development, and a 26.125% WI in its extensions.

Husky expanded its oil and gas holdings in the Jeanne d'Arc Basin in 2006, when it obtained exploration rights from the C-NLOPB for C$36.5 million (see Daily GPIJan. 18, 2006).

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