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Shell Canada approved to resume drilling off Nova Scotia

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By Brett Ruskin, CBC News Posted: Jun 22, 2016 

Nova Scotia’s offshore regulator has given Shell Canada permission to resume drilling the first of two exploratory wells, following an incident earlier this year which saw a two-kilometre-long pipe to fall to the ocean floor.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) said drilling can resume Wednesday, but Shell Canada faces new restrictions that will remain in place until the regulator completes further reviews.

Shell Canada’s contracted drill ship, the Stena IceMAX, will now have to disconnect from the sub-sea well head once waves reach five metres in height. Previously, the limit was eight metres.

‘Exhaustive review’

The company faced a “rigorous and exhaustive review of the incident,” said Stuart Pinks, the regulator’s CEO.

The regulator “sought and received assurance on a number of matters” including Shell Canada’s equipment, procedures, training and risk management.

No one was injured and no well fluids or oil-based drilling fluids were spilled, the regulator said.

The CNSOPB is continuing to review the incident. It says no decisions have yet been made about the recovery of the riser that fell to the ocean floor.

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