PetroCan fined for oil spill
May 5, 2006. 01:00 AM
ST. JOHN'S—Petro-Canada has been fined a record $290,000 for spilling 1,000 barrels of oil off Newfoundland's east coast almost 18 months ago.
Glum senior company officials stood in provincial court this week as a judge accepted their guilty plea and admission of responsibility for the Nov. 20, 2004, spill at its Terra Nova oil field.
The fine is the highest imposed in any pollution case in Atlantic Canada, Crown prosecutor John Brooks said outside the courtroom.
Petro-Canada was charged in July 2005 under a section of the Atlantic Accord Implementation Act with "causing or permitting a spill on or from any portion of the offshore area."
The incident occurred at the Terra Nova floating production, storage and off-loading vessel about 350 kilometres east of St. John's.
An investigation determined oil was actually spilling into the ocean for almost five hours before an "overpowering stench" alerted workers returning from a dinner break.
After they spotted the oil on the ocean surface, tests and checks narrowed the source of the spill to a test separator, where oil and water are supposed to be divided.Petro-Canada lawyer Cecily Strickland admitted in court concerns with the separator were identified four months earlier.
5 hours is a long time for no one to notice!!