On April 26, 2024, in the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Husky Oil Operations Limited was ordered to pay $2 million after earlier pleading guilty to one charge under the federal Fisheries Act and one charge under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The company was also ordered to pay $500,000 for an offence under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act that was investigated by conservation officers with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. A total of $2.4 million will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund to support projects that have a positive impact on Canada’s natural environment. An amount of $100,000 will be paid to the Receiver General for Canada.

The charges relate to a crude oil release on November 16, 2018, at the White Rose oil field in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore area, where an estimated 250,000 litres of crude oil were released into the environment due to a failure of the subsea flowline connector from the SeaRose Floating Production, Storage and Offloading installation. Crude oil is deleterious to fish and harmful to migratory birds. Between November 18 and 23, 2018, 17 potentially oiled birds were observed from offshore vessels and platforms, seven of which were captured. An oiled bird was also discovered on December 4, 2018. These observations, and subsequent laboratory analyses, confirmed that the oil release affected various migratory birds.

The three charges against the company include:

  • One charge for a contravention of subsection 38(6) of the Fisheries Act for failing to take all reasonable measures to prevent an unauthorized deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, or to counteract, mitigate, or remedy any adverse effects that result or that are reasonably expected to result.
  • One charge for a contravention of subsection 5.1(1) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 for unlawfully depositing a substance that is harmful to migratory birds, namely crude oil, or permitting such a substance to be deposited in water or an area frequented by migratory birds.
  • One charge for having ceased work or activity that was likely to cause pollution and resumed it without ensuring it could be done safely and without pollution, contrary to subsection 24(2) of the Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Drilling and Production Regulations, thereby committing offences pursuant to paragraph 194(1)(a) of the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, thereby committing an offence pursuant to paragraph 194(1)(a) of the Accord Act.

As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Source: Environment Canada