Shell reports drillship incident offshore Nova Scotia

Offshore staff

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – According to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), Shell Canada Ltd. reported a recent incident with a drillship working on a well around 250 km (155 mi) offshore Nova Scotia.

Shell said that the event occurred after the DP MODU Stena IceMAX disconnected from the Cheshire exploration well in advance of severe weather. Cheshire is one of two exploration wells the company said it would drill in the area, known as the Southwest Scotian shelf.

“Precautionary procedures were taken and completed prior to the severe weather, including isolating the well using the BOP system,” Shell said in a statement provided to Offshore. “Shortly after the rig moved away from the well location, high waves and heave caused the riser tensioner system to release, resulting in the riser and lower marine riser package, which connect the rig to the well during drilling, to fall to the seabed.

“A survey of the BOP using a remotely-operated vehicle confirmed that the BOP is intact and in good condition.”

The content of the riser had already been replaced with seawater so there was no loss of drilling fluid. Shell and rig operator Stena will investigate the contributing causes of the incident, which did not result in injuries.

CNSOPB and Canadian Coast Guard were notified promptly of the incident, and later CNSOPB said that personnel are being dispatched to the drillship as part of its review of the incident.

Shell’s Shelburne basin exploration project is a deepwater drilling program involving six exploration licenses south of Halifax, Nova Scotia.


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