The Deep Panuke natural gas production facility offshore Nova Scotia is “closer to natural gas production but not quite there yet,” an Encana Corp. spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The Deep Panuke’s facility was to have achieved first gas production at the end of June, more than two years late. However, it’s getting closer, spokeswoman Lori MacLean told NGI on Tuesday. “Final commissioning, the testing of systems and processes, is taking place offshore to ensure everything is working as it should,” she said.

SBM Offshore NV, which was hired to build and operate the platform in late May said the project was “on track” to begin producing gas within a month’s time (see Daily GPI, May 28).

There is encouraging news, MacLean said. Gas “has been introduced to the platform from onshore via the pipeline. This gas is being used for the commissioning, in effect, to energize the platform prior to the opening of the wells…”

Encana is unable to say how long commissioning may take.

The Deep Panuke project received approval to move forward in 2007 by the National Energy Board, and initially it was to begin production in late 2010. After various delays pushed the targeted start-up date to winter 2012-2013, SBM missed again, blaming “recent tests related to process equipment” for not meeting that deadline (see Daily GPI, Nov. 19, 2012). Then the platform was in the process of final commissioning when an electric fire in January forced SBM to shut it down to review the safety processes.

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