March 7: Storm Causes Pipe to Offshore Rig to Break off and Sink

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Two kilometres of pipe that connects an offshore drilling rig to a wellhead broke off and sank in a storm off Nova Scotia’s coast. As a drill ship moved away from the well site, high waves caused the riser tensioner system to break off and fall to the bottom of the ocean. Shell Canada says no drilling fluid or hydrocarbons leaked because the pipe had already been drained of fluids and a blowout protector remained in place over the well. The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board isn’t doing its own investigation because there was no health, safety or environmental issue involved in the incident. But the board did send two safety inspectors to the ship and will monitor Shell’s investigation.