2017 06 28 MUST READ (not reported in any main stream media in Canada): Energy Industry Legacy: Hundreds of Abandoned Wells Leaking Methane in Alberta Communities, Tyee obtains unreleased report that shows leaks pose threats to health, explosion risk by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee
Alberta Energy Regulator lays charges against Nexen Energy for 2015 pipeline spill by Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press, July 6, 2017
The Alberta Energy Regulator has laid five charges against Nexen Energy for a pipeline spill two years ago that was one of the largest in provincial history.
About five million litres of emulsion — estimated to be roughly a third bitumen and two-thirds water and sand — leaked into muskeg near the Calgary-based company’s Long Lake oilsands facility southeast of Fort McMurray.
The charges include releasing a substance that may have caused an adverse effect and disturbance to public lands, failing to report the release as soon as possible, and failing to take all reasonable measures to remediate and manage the spill.
“Producing oil or gas in Alberta comes with a responsibility to follow all requirements to protect the public and environment,” said AER president Jim Ellis in a statement.
“When we believe that the rules are not followed, we have a variety of tools, including laying charges that we can and do use in an attempt to ensure that potential offenders are held accountable.” [Then why is Ex-VP of Encana-led (Protti) AER not charging Encana for breaking the law, contaminating Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers and making residents live in explosive risk in their homes and businesses? AER and Alberta Environment have the documented evidence required to lay charges against Encana]
The AER said the company faces a maximum fine of $3 million for the charges.
Nexen spokeswoman Brittney Price said in an email that the company will consider the charges, but will not make any further comment because the matter is before the courts.
The AER’s investigation into the pipeline spill — estimated to have contaminated about 22,000 square metres — is still considered active. AER spokesman Jordan Fitzgerald said the findings won’t be released until after court proceedings are finished so as to not to taint the process. [And, if Nexen agrees to donate a few million, perhaps to synergizing Pembina Institute or Alberta Environmental Law Centre (that has completely ignored the Daunheimer and Ernst lawsuits while heavily promoting Protti and AER), the courts and AER will agree to gag and close the case, the court will seal the evidence and keep it from the public, letting Nexen say they did nothing wrong.]
Nexen conducted its own investigation into the pipeline rupture, concluding last summer that the design was incompatible with the ground conditions and buckled as the temperature fluctuated. [The tired old blame nature excuse runs rampant in Alberta]
When it released its findings, Nexen said that along with its own deficiencies, it found a number of failings on the part of contractors and subcontractors during the design, construction and installation of the pipeline.
The company estimates that the pipeline leaked for close to a month before the spill was discovered by a field worker, saying that shortcomings in the pipeline’s automation leak-detection system and its ability to manage the system delayed finding the leak.
The Long Lake operation had another major incident in January 2016, when an explosion at the plant killed two workers and knocked the upgrader out of commission. Alberta Occupational Health and Safety continues to investigate.
Nexen, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC Ltd., is scheduled to have its first court appearance on the AER charges on Aug. 16 in Fort McMurray provincial court. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2017 04 25: Nexen (Eaten by CNOOC Ltd.; Feast enabled by Steve Harper) asks Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for $19.5M tax break due to Long Lake blast. Brilliant comment by Shane Shaugnessy: “Our company killed a couple employees and damaged some important equipment. Due to these events we would like the opportunity to do less to support the communties we harm and pollute while still draining as much wealth and intellectual property back to China.”
2015 04 30: What’s the AER really up to shutting down Nexen’s 95 pipeline licenses? Protti trying to save his job? Make Albertans forget the courts ruled that the regulator owes no duty of care to anyone no matter how badly harmed, and can violate our constitutional rights with complete legal immunity?
2015 07 19: AER orders “expectations” to Nexen over massive pipeline spill south of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation calls the break a tarsands milestone: “It is now home to the largest spill in Canadian history”
2015 07 17: Nexen Pipeline Spill: Where are apologies from Encana, Alberta government, AER for lying, covering-up Encana secretly fracing Rosbud’s drinking water aquifers, continuing to lie while children were being burned by the water after the community’s water tower exploded? ]