Future of Suncor Terra Nova FPSO Remains Uncertain After Fire

The fire at the Terra Nova FPSO comes 6 months after C-NLOPB found Suncor noncompliant with regulatory requirements and suspended operations.

Terra Nova FPSO

The status of Suncor Energy’s Terra Nova floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) remains in flux after the company reported a fire on 30 May coming from the vessel’s low-pressure (LP) separator. The fire was extinguished with no injuries and all personnel accounted for.

There is no gas or crude held onboard the vessel, which has been shut down for maintenance. The fire comes 6 months after the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) issued an order to suspend production-related operations on the FPSO vessel, approximately 350 km east of St. John’s.

The C-NLOPB determined in December that Suncor was not compliant with regulatory requirements under the Atlantic Accord Implementation Acts to maintain and comprehensively inspect equipment critical in the safe operation of the installation, to ensure repairs are carried out in a timely manner, and to ensure that mitigation measures are effective in minimizing hazards.

Specifically, the C-NLOPB’s chief safety officer (CSO) found those requirements were not met with respect to the availability of redundant fire water-pump systems onboard the installation. C-NLOPB said the suspension will continue until the operator has addressed this matter to the satisfaction of the CSO.

C-NLOPB said Suncor addressed the matter of the fire pumps systems to the CSO’s satisfaction, which was evident during the fire on 30 May.

The fire also came just after Suncor’s Q1 update in May, when the company said it was evaluating alternates for the Terra Nova asset life-extension project; Spain cannot accommodate the planned dry dock work due to its COVID‑19 response.

Suncor and the Terra Nova joint venture owners sanctioned plans in May 2019 to extend the life of the FPSO vessel to approximately 2031. The project would allow the facility to capture approximately 80 million additional barrels of oil for the Terra Nova partnership.

Production from the Terra Nova field began in 2002, using the Terra Nova FPSO vessel.