Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mi'kmaq Chiefs, Activists Voice Concerns over BP Drilling Fluids Spill off N.S. Coast

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mi'kmaq Chiefs, Activists Voice Concerns over BP Drilling Fluids Spill off N.S. Coast

Article excerpt

Concern mounting over BP mud spill in N.S.

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HALIFAX - First Nations and environmental activists say they're "extremely concerned" after drilling fluids were spilled off the coast of Nova Scotia during a BP Canada oil exploration project.

The incident came just two months after the province's offshore petroleum regulator granted the energy giant permission to drill the Aspy D-11 exploration well approximately 330 kilometres off the coast of Halifax.

In a release issued Saturday, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs said the incident raises questions about the protection of the lands and waters, as well as any potential species affected by the spill.

"We want answers from BP Canada," said Chief Terrance Paul, Fisheries Lead for the assembly.

"We want to know how this could happen, what affect it could potentially have on our fisheries and what they are going to do to address that. Incidents like this are unacceptable in Mi'kma'ki."

The assembly said that spills and environmental damage have been a source of constant concern for them, saying that they consistently advocate for protections to be put in place with any project of this nature happening in Nova Scotia.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board said in an incident report Friday that there was an "unauthorized discharge" of about 136 cubic metres of synthetic drilling mud -- a heavy, dense fluid used to lubricate the drill pipe and regulate reservoir pressure -- from the West Aquarius drilling unit before it was stopped.

They said an early investigation indicates the spill occurred in piping about 30 metres below sea level.

Anita Perry, regional manager of BP Canada, said Friday that her company "takes this incident very seriously and will continue with the investigation to understand the cause."

In the meantime, CSNOPB said the exploration well is secure and drilling has been suspended while the cause of the leak is being investigated. …

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