AER Allows Resumption of 10 Production Pipelines at Nexen Long Lake; 45 Lines Remain Shut in
CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Sept. 16, 2015) - The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has approved the resumption of operations for 10 production pipelines at Nexen Energy ULC's Long Lake oil sands operations.
The production pipelines transport miscellaneous gases, including produced steam and vapour, oil emulsion, and natural gas, including produced vapour.
Following AER inspections of the site, a review of documentation, and Nexen's subsequent actions, the AER is satisfied that the current operating conditions of the production lines pose a low risk to public safety and environmental protection. The AER has amended the suspension order issued on August 28, 2015, allowing Nexen to operate these lines.
In addition, Nexen is required to implement an action plan that has been approved by the AER. The plan includes rigorous daily inspections, additional testing, and additional monitoring of the affected lines. Nexen is also required to provide the AER with regular updates on inspection results.
The suspension order was issued after the AER received information that indicated noncompliance with the Pipeline Act and Pipeline Rules on multiple pipelines at the Long Lake facility. The AER immediately ordered the suspension of 15 licences at the facility.
The order, issued under Section 29 of the Pipeline Act, directed the company to:
- Immediately suspend 15 pipeline licences, which required shut in of 95 pipelines carrying natural gas, crude oil, salt water, fresh water, and emulsion, (a mixture of oil, gas, and produced water), and
- Provide sufficient documentation to assure the AER that all lines can be operated safely.
The remaining 45 suspended pipelines contain several products, including crude oil, natural gas, salt water, fresh water and emulsion. These pipelines, most of which involve production of oil sands, will not return to service until Nexen can demonstrate that the pipelines can be operated safely and within all requirements.
AER continues to review the matter and will determine the level of enforcement action that Nexen may face once the investigation is complete. Enforcement can range from administrative penalties to prosecution depending on the outcome of the investigation. The investigation into the Nexen Long Lake pipeline failure is ongoing.
Updates to the suspension order and to the AER's investigation into the Long Lake pipeline failure will be posted to the Compliance Dashboard.
The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.
FOR BROADCAST USE
The Alberta Energy Regulator has approved a resumption of 10 production pipelines at Nexen Energy's Long Lake oil sands operations after conducting site inspections and reviewing maintenance and monitoring documentation for the pipelines. Forty-five pipelines remain suspended until Nexen can demonstrate that the pipelines can be operated safely.
(September 16, 2015 - 7:30 PM EDT)
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