Suncor Energy pleads guilty to Newfoundland offshore drilling rig spill

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The regulator for Newfoundland’s offshore oil industry says Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) has pleaded guilty to a spill from a drilling rig last year.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board said today that the company pleaded guilty in provincial court to causing or permitting a spill in the province’s offshore area.

The board charged Suncor Energy following a spill in March 2011 of 26,400 litres of synthetic based mud, a fluid used to lubricate drill pipes and balance reservoir pressure.

Suncor Energy has been fined $30,000 and ordered to pay another $100,000 into an environmental damages fund.

Two other charges — failing to handle drilling fluids in a way that would prevent pollution and failing to handle drilling fluids so they don’t create an environmental hazard — were dropped as part of the guilty plea.