Precautionary Plans for Newfoundland Offshore Demobilization

The U.S. Air Force plans to launch a Titan IV rocket early in the morning of Monday, April 11 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Debris from the launch, a 10-ton solid rocket booster, will land in a Launch Hazard Area, which contains the Hibernia platform.

The Canada Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board has met with the three operators of the installations and drilling rig. The production operators, HMDC and Petro-Canada, informed the Board of their plans to remove all personnel, offload crude inventory and shut-in production over the weekend as a precautionary measure as debris from a rocket launch may fall within 15 nautical miles of the Hibernia platform. The drilling rig GSF Grand Banks will be towed out of the potential hazard zone.

HMDC, Petro-Canada and Husky personnel are jointly planning the logistics for personnel movement. The operators have advised their personnel and removal will begin with non-essential workers today at the Hibernia GBS.

"These actions are precautionary," explained acting Chair and CEO, Fred Way. "While actual contact with one of the installations has a low probability, it would have devastating consequences if it happened. The companies are acting prudently and working diligently to minimize the risk to people and the environment."

In a letter to each of the operators, the Board today confirmed each company's plans to minimize the risk to personnel and protect the environment. The Board's Safety Department will continue to work closely with the operators and other relevant agencies to ensure all potential risks are kept to a minimum.

In the meantime, discussions between various levels of government continue in an effort to delay the launch or change the rocket's planned trajectory.