Equipment that failed during fire on offshore platform is working, insists firm
The owner of the Deep Panuke natural gas platform off Nova Scotia says a fire suppression system that failed when a small electrical blaze broke out earlier this month is in working order.
Anne Guerin-Moens, a spokeswoman for Dutch-based SBM Offshore, said a valve that was supposed to release carbon dioxide didn’t open when the fire broke out Jan. 19 on the platform 250 kilometres southeast of Halifax.
Work was put on hold and 46 people were removed from the platform as a precaution.
Guerin-Moens could not say Monday what caused the suppression system to fail, but she said the valves have since been tested and are now functioning.
“Everything is working now as it should,” she said.
An investigation involving SBM Offshore and energy giant Encana (TSX:ECA) found the fire was contained to an electrical cabinet in the emergency switchboard room aboard the platform.
Guerin-Moens said the fire was caused by an equipment malfunction and was extinguished within minutes by firefighters when the fire suppression system didn’t kick in.
“We took the time necessary to re-test and re-inspect everything before bringing people back on board because safety is our biggest priority,” she said.
Details of the probe posted on the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board’s website said necessary electrical repairs have since been carried out. It also said safety officers with the regulator have visited the platform twice since the incident.
“The board is satisfied that appropriate corrective actions have been taken enabling the operator to proceed,” the memo read.
The development received regulatory approval in 2007 and was initially supposed to go into production by late 2010.
Guerin-Moens said construction workers began returning over the weekend to the site, which is still expected to begin producing natural gas within the first half of this year.
“We’re sticking with that target,” she said.