Terra Nova to Resume Production from Shut-In Wells

Petro-Canada has received approval from the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NOPB) to resume oil production from wells that were shut in at the Terra Nova oil field, offshore Newfoundland, following the discharge of two barrels of oil from the Terra Nova FPSO on December 20, 2004. Production from the wells - known as "wet wells" because of their produced water content - was approved on December 26, 2004 after Petro-Canada filed its investigation report with the C-NOPB on December 23, 2004.

"Our investigation suggests that there was no discharge of oil from the produced water treatment system," said Gordon Carrick, Vice-President, East Coast for Petro-Canada. "In reviewing all the information, it appears most likely that the oil discharged on December 20 was actually residual oil from the November 21 oily water discharge. It was contained in and around the produced water discharge area of the FPSO, and was washed out when the hot, clean produced water was discharged at the end of the oil/water separation process," he explained.

"Safe and environmentally-responsible operations are our top priority," said Carrick. "We are disappointed about this recent discharge, because any release of oil is unacceptable. At the same time we are pleased that our produced water separation system operated properly and it was not the cause."

Oil spill cleanup equipment is available offshore, and will be ready for deployment in the event that further minor concentrations of residual oil are released. "We expect that some small volumes of oil could be washed out over the coming weeks. Conditions permitting, we will recover as much of this oil as possible. However it is not likely we will be able to recover all of it, and sheens may continue to be observed periodically in the area," said Carrick.