Equinor Flemish Pass Exploration Drilling Program

Equinor Canada Ltd. (Equinor) is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling project within offshore exploration licenses located in the Flemish Pass Basin, approximately 480 kilometres east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The proposed Flemish Pass Exploration Drilling Project would take place over a 10-year period, commencing in 2018 and would allow Equinor to determine the presence, nature and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resource in exploration licences 1139, 1140, 1141, and 1142. 

 

Accidental discharges of hydrocarbons were modeled by RPS at representative sites bounding the depths and geographic locations throughout the Exploration Licenses. This included the trajectory and fate modeling of hypothetical releases of crude oil from deep-water blowouts at multiple depths, and surface releases of marine diesel from bunkering accidents. OILMAP Deep was used to characterize the near-field conditions of the blowout in the region directly around the wellhead. These results were used to initialize the SIMAP modeling system, which assessed the transport and fate of hydrocarbons throughout the environment. Stochastic analyses provided probabilistic results specifying the likelihood (i.e. probability) and extent of multiple specific threshold exceedances of surface oil thickness, shoreline oil mass, and in water contamination. Deterministic analyses provided specific trajectory and mass balance information for representative 95th percentile cases of surface, shore, and water column contamination. The goal was to determine the range of effects that may be expected in the event of a release. The results were included in the EIS.

Timeline

  • 2014

    The project was started in October 2014. 

  • 2015

    In January 2015, the framing the assessment began.

  • 2015

    In March 2015, the approach and scenario matrix was identified.

  • 2015

    In August 2015, there were regulatory delays.

  • 2016

    In October 2016, draft guidelines from CEAA provided to Equinor caused a reframe to the analysis. 

  • 2017

    In January 2017, RPS began to receive model inputs. 

  • 2017

    In April 2017, a short assessment for exploration drilling was completed.

  • 2017

    In August 2017, a Probability Assessment was completed.

  • 2017

    In October 2017, the “Trajectory Modelling in Support of the Equinor Exploration Drilling Project” Technical Report was completed.

  • 2017

    In December 2017, pursuant with the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) environmental assessment requirements, the Final EIS was provided to Canadian regulators for review.

  • 2018

    In February 2018, the Metocean Analysis Technical Report was completed.

  • 2018

    In April 2018, the responses to Information Requests (IR’s) from Canadian Regulators was completed.

  • 2018

    The project Completion date was in April 2018 .

1 /13
2014

The project was started in October 2014. 

2015

In January 2015, the framing the assessment began.

2015

In March 2015, the approach and scenario matrix was identified.

2015

In August 2015, there were regulatory delays.

2016

In October 2016, draft guidelines from CEAA provided to Equinor caused a reframe to the analysis. 

2017

In January 2017, RPS began to receive model inputs. 

2017

In April 2017, a short assessment for exploration drilling was completed.

2017

In August 2017, a Probability Assessment was completed.

2017

In October 2017, the “Trajectory Modelling in Support of the Equinor Exploration Drilling Project” Technical Report was completed.

2017

In December 2017, pursuant with the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA 2012) and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) environmental assessment requirements, the Final EIS was provided to Canadian regulators for review.

2018

In February 2018, the Metocean Analysis Technical Report was completed.

2018

In April 2018, the responses to Information Requests (IR’s) from Canadian Regulators was completed.

2018

The project Completion date was in April 2018 .

Key Details

Project Name

Equinor Flemish Pass Exploration Drilling Program

Client

Equinor Canada Ltd.

 

Location

  • Offshore Newfoundland, Canada 

Sectors

  • Oil and gas
  • Water Quality
  • Industrial


Challenge

RPS was contracted to provide support and modeling services. Analyses included portions of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a technical report focusing on trajectory and fate modeling of both subsurface blowouts and surface releases, a metocean analysis of winds and currents, and a Risk Assessment (RA) to investigate the likelihood of releases.

Solution

A metocean analysis was conducted to investigate the differences between current (HYCOM) and wind (CFSR) models used in the oil spill trajectory and fate modeling and observational data to verify their validity. Results indicated that both datasets were sufficient to provide the spatial and temporal variability within the environment that would be observed. 

A Risk Assessment was conducted (with Environmental Research Consulting, Inc.) to evaluate the spillage probabilities and volumes for identified scenarios. Additionally, oil inputs in the region were investigated in a benchmarking analysis. The modeled blowout scenarios were then compared to other significant blowouts with respect to the release rate, duration, and total volume. These results were summarized in the RA. 

Services Provided

Environment:  

  • Ecology – identify potential effects to marine environments 
  • Environmental Impact Assessment – Environmental Impact Statement  
  • Environmental permitting & compliance – Technical reports and numerical modeling completed to meet CNLOPB, CEAA, and NEB requirements 
  • Hydrology / hydrogeology – hydrodynamic modeling of the North Atlantic 
  • Spatial intelligence and GIS – Overlay of oil spill numerical modeling data onto areas of interest (AOI) as well as geospatial depiction of environmental data 

Exploration and development: 

  • Drilling – numerical modeling of oil spills associated with exploration drilling 
  • Technical studies – numerical modeling of oil spills, probability assessment of releases

Water services: 

  • Water quality modelling and monitoring – provide oil spill modeling that identifies the extent, timing, and potential magnitude of water quality impacts from hydrocarbon releases 

 

Oceans and coastal: 

  • Coastal and marine geoscience – identification of shorelines, habitat, bathymetry for use in oil spill modeling 
  • Marine emergency response – Use oil spill modeling to guide marine emergency response plans 
  • Maritime infrastructure – Provide risk assessment for exploration drilling associated with new maritime infrastructure 
  • Modelling – Provide computational oil spill modeling and probability assessment of releases 

Other Services:

  • Numerical Modeling – unmitigated deep water and surface releases of hydrocarbons  
  • Environmental Impact Assessment  
  • Probability Assessment 
  • Regulatory Engagement 

Project Statistics

36
day hypothetical releases modeled for 160 days
113
day hypothetical releases modeled for 160 days
2
stochastic scenarios modeled
119
individual oil spill simulations per scenario
10
representative deterministic scenarios modeled
3
scenarios; surface oil exposure, water column contamination & shoreline contact

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *

Message: