Nexen Energy is reopening 40 of the 95 pipelines the Alberta Energy Regulator had ordered closed at its Long Lake tar sands/oil sands facility after reviewing the company’s maintenance and monitoring records.
The investigation was triggered by a five-million-litre pipeline spill in July, North America’s largest-ever, that “left 16,000 square metres of muskeg slathered in bitumen, sand, and produced water,” CTV News reported at the time. “It’s shocking to learn that the pipeline may have been spilling for two weeks before it was discovered—and even then, only by accident,” said Greenpeace Canada climate and energy campaigner Mike Hudema.
Based on the investigation at Long Lake, “the remaining 55 pipelines affected by the order, which contain several products, including crude oil, natural gas, salt water, fresh water, and emulsion, continue to be suspended,” the regulator said earlier this week. The pipelines “will not return to service until Nexen can demonstrate that the pipelines can be operated safely and within all requirements.”
On August 31, Reuters reported that Canadian light synthetic crude oil prices “spiked higher” on news of the Nexen shutdown and an explosion and fire at Canada’s largest synthetic crude oil project, a 326,000-barrel-per-day Syncrude facility in northern Alberta.