Project Status Update

Project Status Update - December 11, 2018   

The Project has had no spills, equipment damage, or injuries in the last biweekly reporting period.

Well plugging and abandonment operations are complete and demobilization activities are underway. Following installation and integrity testing of cement plugs last week, the blowout preventer (BOP) was disconnected and a cap was placed on the wellhead. Nearly 3,000 metres of riser, with the BOP attached to the bottom, is being hauled up through the water column.  Once the riser and the BOP have been recovered and the equipment has been secured on the rig deck, the West Aquarius will move off the wellsite and begin transit to Bay Bulls, NL.

Back at the wellsite, a seabed video survey will be conducted using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operated from a platform supply vessel. This survey will confirm the absence of debris from the seafloor around the permanent wellhead and will also collect data on the extent of drilling waste deposition.

A 500 metre radius safety (exclusion) zone will remain in place around the West Aquarius until it moves off the wellsite.

Project Status Update - November 27, 2018

The Project has had no spills, equipment damage, or injuries in the last biweekly reporting period. 

BP has completed drilling at Aspy D-11A. Plugging and abandonment operations are now underway. Plugging and abandonment involves installing a series of cement plugs at various depths in the wellbore to permanently seal the well.

BP has received approval from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to leave the wellhead on the seafloor after the well has been sealed. The only infrastructure that will be left on the seafloor is the wellhead which is approximately 4 metres (m) in height and takes up a permanent footprint of less than 1 m2, at a depth of 2771 m below the water surface. The largest outside dimension on the wellhead is the extension joint which is 91 cm in diameter. All other subsea infrastructure, including the blowout preventer (BOP) will be removed. The BOP will only be removed once the cement plugs are put in place and verified.

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will be used to survey the seafloor to confirm there is no other infrastructure or debris on the seafloor. Given the water depth at the well location (2771 m) and lack of bottom contact fishing activity at this water depth, there is no predicted interaction with fishing activities. Well plugging and abandonment activities are anticipated to be completed by early to mid-December 2018.

Project Status Update – November 13, 2018

The Project has had no spills, equipment damage, or injuries in the last biweekly reporting period.  

BP has completed drilling at the Aspy D-11A exploration well and is now preparing to plug and abandon the well.  We will be evaluating the data gathered and developing a plan for next steps. A decision has been made not to conduct vertical seismic profiling (VSP) operations. Over the next few weeks, the rig crew will be focused on plug and abandonment operations.

Project Status Update - October 30, 2018

The Project has had no spills, equipment damage, or injuries in the last biweekly reporting period.  

Due to variable weather conditions offshore in the last two weeks, BP has been taking precautionary measures as needed and suspended drilling operations periodically during this time. The West Aquarius has resumed drilling operations. 

Project Status Update - October 16, 2018

The Project has had no spills, equipment damage, or injuries in the last biweekly reporting period. 

Last week, as a precautionary measure in anticipation of harsh weather conditions, BP suspended drilling operations and took the necessary precautions to secure the well. Drilling operations are still suspended but preparations are underway to resume drilling this week.

A 500 metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius where non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star (call sign: CFA2459), or equivalent vessel.

Project Status Update - October 2, 2018

The Project has had no spills, equipment damage, or injuries in the last biweekly reporting period. 

On September 23, 2018, BP retrieved three acoustic recorders which were deployed in April 2018  prior to the start of drilling operations (see Project Status Update report from April 18, 2018). These acoustic recorders were deployed as part of a marine mammal monitoring and follow-up program to measure underwater sound at varying distances from the West Aquarius during drilling operations. Recordings will now be analyzed and compared to predictive modelling that was presented in the Environmental Impact Statement. This data will provide information on the transmission of underwater sound from the Project as well as help provide insight to the presence of marine mammals in the area. Although the focus of the follow-up program was to capture the predicted seasonal change in sound transmission between winter and summer, the continued deployment of the recorders through the summer has allowed BP to gather additional data. More information on the acoustic monitoring program can be found on BP’s website here: https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp-country/en_ca/canada/documents/NS_Drilling_Pgm/Acoustic_Monitoring_Plan_BP_Scotian_Basin.pdf.

Results from this study will be reported to the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency within 90 days of well abandonment and will also be available publicly.

A 500 metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius where non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star, or equivalent vessel.

Project Status Update - September 18, 2018

Since BP received authorization to restart drilling operations on July 23, 2018, the Project has had no spills or equipment damage, but has had one injury. A worker on the West Aquarius lost his balance while performing a routine maintenance activity and sustained an elbow injury. The worker subsequently received medical treatment. BP is conducting an investigation to understand the root cause and help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

BP is closely monitoring weather systems in the Atlantic Ocean and will take the necessary safety precautions to ensure the safety of personnel and operations on the West Aquarius. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps. We remain prepared to respond as conditions warrant.

A 500 metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius where non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star (call sign: CFA2459), or equivalent vessel. 

Project Status Update - September 4, 2018

Since BP received authorization to restart drilling operations on July 23, 2018, the Project has had no incidents involving injuries, spills, or equipment damage.

BP continues to drill a sidetrack well at Aspy D-11A. BP is closely monitoring potential weather systems developing in the South Atlantic Ocean and will take the necessary safety precautions to ensure the safety of personnel and operations on the West Aquarius. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps. We remain prepared to respond as conditions warrant.

A 500-metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius where non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star (call sign: CFA2459), or equivalent vessel.  

Project Status Update - August 21, 2018

Since BP received authorization to restart drilling operations on July 23, 2018, the Project has had no incidents involving injuries, spills, or equipment damage.

BP has begun to drill a sidetrack well (Aspy D-11A). Sidetracking (drilling a secondary well away from the original well) is standard practice and has been used in drilling several wells offshore Atlantic Canada. The West Aquarius will not be changing position for the sidetrack well. The same surface location and infrastructure (including wellhead) from Aspy D-11 will be used for the sidetrack well (Aspy D-11A). However, instead of continuing to drill down vertically, drilling will step out slightly to one side. The lower portion of the Aspy D-11 wellbore that the sidetrack is diverting from has been cemented and plugged, and sidetrack operations are underway.

A 500 metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius where non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star (call sign: CFA2459), or equivalent vessel. 

Project Status Update - August 7, 2018

BP has received approval from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to drill a sidetrack well at the Aspy D-11 wellsite. Sidetracking (drilling a secondary well away from the original well) is standard practice and has been used in drilling several wells offshore Atlantic Canada. The West Aquarius will not be changing position for the sidetrack well. The same surface location and infrastructure (including wellhead) from Aspy D-11 will be used for the sidetrack well (Aspy D-11A). However, instead of continuing to drill down vertically, drilling will step out slightly to one side. The lower portion of the Aspy D-11 wellbore that the sidetrack is diverting from has been cemented and plugged, and preparations are underway to begin sidetracking. 

A 500 metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius where non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star (call sign: CFA2459).  

Project Status Update - July 23, 2018

BP has recommenced drilling operations upon receiving authorization from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to resume drilling operations at its Aspy D-11 well location aboard the West Aquarius. 

On June 22, a remotely-operated vehicle inspection discovered a leak about 30 meters below the water surface. Drilling operations were suspended once the leak was detected.

The repairs and integrity testing were since completed and it was determined that the cause of the leak was a loose connection of the booster line on the riser. BP has immediately implemented improved inspection procedures to prevent any future occurrences.  

During the course of repair operations, there have been no spills, injuries or accidents. BP takes this incident very seriously and is fully cooperating with the ongoing incident investigation.

On July 11, as a precautionary measure, BP disconnected and moved the West Aquarius drilling unit away from the exploratory well location during a hurricane which passed in the vicinity. Once the weather conditions improved, the West Aquarius moved back to the well location.

Project Status Update - July 11, 2018

Precautionary measures due to Hurricane Chris and general update

As of July 11, Hurricane Chris is moving up the east coast of the US and Canada heading in the vicinity of our Aspy D-11 well location. BP is closely monitoring Hurricane Chris to ensure the safety of personnel and operations on the West Aquarius Drilling Unit offshore Nova Scotia. As a precautionary measure, BP disconnected and moved the West Aquarius Drilling Unit away from the exploratory well location until the weather system passes and sea states subside. Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps. We remain prepared to respond as conditions warrant.

In our July 3, 2018 Bulletin, we advised that rig personnel had begun repairs to the pipework containing the drilling fluid system aboard the West Aquarius. The repairs and integrity testing are now complete and it was determined that the cause of the leak was a loose connection of the booster line on the riser. BP is confident it  has addressed the cause and is prepared to commence drilling operations once permission is granted by the regulator (the Canada – Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board.)

A few key facts:

  • Drilling operations have been suspended pending permission from the regulator.
  • The well is secure.  
  • No hydrocarbons were released as a result of this spill of drilling fluid.

BP takes this incident very seriously and is cooperating fully with the ongoing incident investigation. 

Project Status Update - July 3, 2018

Drilling operations remain suspended pending completion of investigation into the drilling fluid spill incident of June 22, 2018. 

Rig personnel have begun repairs to the pipework containing the drilling fluid system aboard the West Aquarius and continue to cooperate fully with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board investigation into the incident. During the course of repair operations, there have been no spills, injuries or accidents.

On June 22, 2018, a remotely-operated vehicle inspection discovered a leak about 30 meters below the water surface where the drilling fluid had leaked. Drilling operations were suspended once the leak was detected. The drilling fluid, known as synthetic based mud, is a dense fluid used during drilling operations to lubricate the drill head, remove drill cuttings, and to maintain pressure in the well. 

A few key facts:

  • Drilling operations have been suspended pending completion of the investigation.
  • The well is secure.  
  • No hydrocarbons were released as a result of this spill of drilling fluid.

As previously reported, it is estimated that approximately 136 m3 of drilling fluid were released from the drilling system. On-board systems detected the release and drilling operations were halted, and the well secured. The investigation is looking into the circumstances surrounding the release. 

BP takes this incident very seriously and is cooperating fully with the ongoing incident investigation.

Project Status Update - June 25, 2018

Status Update, Drilling Fluid Spill Incident     

Over the weekend, the CNSOPB began their investigation into the circumstances of the drilling fluid spill which occurred on Friday, June 22, 2018. Representatives from the CNSOPB visited the drilling rig to conduct an investigation and interview rig personnel as they reviewed the activities surrounding the incident. BP and personnel aboard the drilling rig are cooperating fully with the investigation.

On June 22, 2018, a remotely-operated vehicle inspection discovered a leak about 30 meters below the water surface where the drilling fluid had leaked. Drilling operations were suspended once the leak was detected. The drilling fluid, known as synthetic based mud, is a dense fluid used during drilling operations to lubricate the drill head, remove drill cuttings, and to maintain pressure in the well. Because of its weight, the drilling fluid did not rise to the surface, but sank to the sea floor or dissipated.

A few key facts to report:

  • Drilling operations have been suspended pending completion of the investigation.
  • The well is secure.  
  • No hydrocarbons were released as a result of this spill of drilling fluid.

As previously reported, it is estimated that approximately 136 m3 of drilling fluid were released from the drilling system. On-board systems detected the release and drilling operations were halted, and the well secured. The investigation is looking into the circumstances surrounding the release. BP expects to have further details on the incident in the coming days as the investigation proceeds.

BP takes this incident very seriously and has mobilized additional staff to Nova Scotia to assist with the incident investigation. 

Project Status Update – June 22, 2018

Drilling Fluid Spill Notification

On June 22, 2018 during routine drilling operations, a leak of synthetic-based mud (drilling fluid) was detected in the drilling fluid system, approximately 30 m below the sea surface. Drilling operations were suspended once the leak was detected and the loss of drilling fluid was stopped. The well is secure and drilling operations remain suspended.

An incident investigation will be initiated. The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) and the Canadian Coast Guard have been notified.

It is estimated that approximately 136 m3 of synthetic-based mud (SBM) was released during the incident. SBM is a dense fluid used during drilling operations to lubricate the drill pipe and overbalance reservoir pressure. The synthetic-based oil used in SBM is a non-toxic mineral oil, which was selected in accordance with the Offshore Chemical Selection Guidelines. Because of its weight, the SBM did not flow to the surface but sank rapidly. A remotely operated vehicle has been deployed underwater to help investigate the incident.

BP takes this incident very seriously and will continue its investigation to understand the cause and effect of this spill. Additional information will be shared when available.  

Project Status Update – June 19, 2018 

Routine drilling operations continue as planned without any spills, injuries or accidents. 

Daily searches for stranded birds are performed on the West Aquarius and platform support vessels as part of BP’s follow-up and monitoring program for migratory birds. Between April 13, 2018 through June 9, 2018, there has been a total of 14 stranded bird observations, with 12 of these strandings recorded on the West Aquarius. In all cases, the birds were found dead and were disposed of at sea in accordance with BP’s permit under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. There have been no observations of species at risk or oiled birds. To date, there have been no recordings of marine mammals and sea turtle observations.

Project Status Update - June 5, 2018

Routine drilling operations continue as planned without any spills, injuries or accidents. 

On Friday May 25, 2018, BP participated in a helicopter landing and search and rescue (SAR) exercise with Horizon Maritime Services Ltd. and Canadian Helicopters Offshore (CHO). To demonstrate its capabilities as the designated emergency response and rescue vessel for the Project, the Horizon Star required a documented helicopter landing on its helideck. The Horizon Star is a newer vessel in Horizon Maritime’s fleet and the exercise with CHO’s search and rescue (SAR) helicopter presented the first landing of a helicopter on its helideck.  The training exercise included several landings on the helideck as well as simulated rescue hoists and cargo winches between the SAR helicopter and the Horizon Star. Representatives from the CNSOPB were on board to observe the successful exercise. 

Project Status Update – May 22, 2018

Routine drilling operations continue as planned without any spills, injuries or accidents. 

A 500-metre radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius within which non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star.

A platform supply vessel, the Troms Sirius, has now also been certified as a standby vessel for the drilling program and will be used to relieve the Horizon Star of standby vessel duties as required (e.g. during crew changes).

Troms Sirius Platform Supply Vessel (PSV)

Horizon Star Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel (EERV)

 

Project Status Update: - May 8, 2018

Operations Status: Drilling Operations

On April 22, 2018 BP commenced drilling operations at the Aspy D-11 wellsite. Routine drilling operations continue as planned.

A 500-m radius safety (exclusion) zone is in place around the West Aquarius within which non-Project vessels are prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star (call sign: CFA2459). 

Project Status Update – April 23, 2018 

On April 21, 2018 the Canada‐Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) granted an Approval to Drill a Well (ADW) to BP and authorized the commencement of drilling operations for the Aspy D‐11 exploration well.  

On April 22, 2018 BP commenced drilling operations at the Aspy D‐11 wellsite. 

Project Status Update – April 18, 2018 

BP’s Scotian Basin Exploration Project involves drilling an initial well (Aspy D-11) on Exploration Licence (EL) 2434 in 2777 metres water depth, approximately 330 kilometres southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. BP has contracted the West Aquarius rig, operated by Seadrill, to drill the well. The supply base is located in Halifax Harbour (approximately 20 hours sailing time to the drill rig) and the helicopter fleet base is located at Halifax Stanfield International Airport (approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes helicopter flight time to the drill rig). 

Location of Aspy D-11 Well

West Aquarius Semi-Submersible Drill Rig

On April 4, 2018 the West Aquarius left Bay Bulls, NL and began transit to Nova Scotia waters. The average transit speed was approximately 3 knots. After the West Aquarius reached the wellsite, a pre-drill survey was conducted using a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV). Video transects of the seafloor were conducted in a 45-degree radial pattern, extending 500 m from the wellsite. No aggregations of habitat-forming corals or sponges or any other environmentally sensitive features were observed.  

On April 15, 2018, the research vessel Strait Hunter was used to deploy three bottom-mounted acoustic recorders, which will gather data on underwater sound during drilling operations as part of a marine mammal follow-up program, and a wave rider buoy which will collect real-time meteorological data during the drilling program.  

A 500-m safety zone has now been established around the West Aquarius within which non-Project vessels will be prohibited. The safety (exclusion) zone will be monitored through the drilling program by the standby vessel, the Horizon Star.  

Preparatory work continues prior to receiving authorization from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to commence drilling.