Nexen Long Lake Pipeline Failure

 

Nexen Long Lake Pipeline Failure

The Alberta Energy Regulator continues to respond to a Nexen pipeline failure approximately 36 km south east of Fort McMurray.

On July 15, 2015, Nexen notified the AER of a pipeline release. The company reported an initial estimated emulsion volume of 5000m3. The pipeline and pad site have been isolated and shut in, effectively stopping the source of the release.

The company reported that the release has affected an area of approximately 40 m x 400 m and that the release is mainly isolated to the pipeline right of way which includes muskeg. The release has not flowed into a waterbody.

There are no reported impacts to the public or wildlife at this time and the AER has directed the operator to implement a wildlife protection plan in the area.
AER staff are on-site to assess the situation, initiate an investigation, and work with the company to ensure all safety and environmental requirements are met during the response to the incident.

Access Nexen's Daily updates webpage


Incident Updates

November 9, 2016

The AER has reviewed Nexen Energy’s Pipeline Integrity Program Manual and has determined that, if followed, pipelines at the company’s Long Lake facility can be operated safely. Under the Pipeline Rules and Canadian Standards Association Z662, a licensee must comply with its Pipeline Integrity Program Manual. The AER is satisfied that Nexen has fulfilled the operating conditions of the Pipeline Act Section 29 order that was issued in August 2015 and, as a result, is rescinding the order. Nexen is no longer required to follow the terms or conditions outlined in the order, but must continue to follow all applicable pipeline regulations. The AER will continue to regularly review operations at Nexen’s Long Lake facility as a part of the AER’s regular compliance and enforcement work. Further information is available on the Compliance Dashboard.


October 22, 2015

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has lifted the suspension of 24 disposal and production water pipelines at Nexen Energy ULC’s Long Lake oil sands operations.

The 24 disposal and production water pipelines transport saline water, well disposal water, and low pressure condensate water.

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 remaining pipelines affected by the suspension order continue to be shut in. The pipelines will not return to service until approved by the AER

The AER has amended the suspension order issued on August 28, 2015, allowing Nexen to operate these lines.


September 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.

Attachment: Order – Amendment No. 2


September 6, 2015

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has approved a partial resumption of pipeline operations related to utilities (fuel gas and water) at Nexen Energy ULCʼs Long Lake oil sands operations.

The AER has reviewed documentation regarding maintenance and monitoring of 40 pipelines, which contain natural gas, fuel gas or fresh water and is satisfied the company has met the requirements detailed in the suspension order issued on August 28, 2015.

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. 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.

Attachment: Order – Amendment No. 1


August 28, 2015

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has issued a Suspension Order to Nexen Energy ULC, due to noncompliant activities at Long Lake oilsands operations pertaining to pipeline maintenance and monitoring.

The order, issued under Section 29 of the Pipeline Act, directs the company to:

  • Immediately suspend 15 pipeline licences, which requires shut in of 95 pipelines that are carrying natural gas, crude oil, salt water, fresh water, and emulsion, and
  • provide sufficient documentation to assure the AER that these lines can be operated safely.

August 12, 2015

The Nexen pipeline failure incident was downgraded to a nonemergency phase on August 7, 2015, after the company successfully removed the remaining bitumen emulsion from the pipeline, eliminating the possibility of any further release. Remediation work at the site continues.

AER staff will continue to monitor the site to ensure that all requirements are met. AER investigators continue to gather information to aid in the formal investigation of the incident.

The environmental protection order issued on July 17, 2015, will remain active until the conditions set by the AER have been satisfied by the company.


July 30, 2015

Crews are onsite 24 hours/day. Once repairs were completed to the impacted section of pipeline, Nexen received approval from the AER to begin purging the remaining fluid from the pipeline. The pipeline remains shut in. To date, the company has complied with the Environmental Protection Order issued by the AER on July 17, including an approved wildlife mitigation plan. The company has also completed a trench on the west side of the spill site to further enhance containment of any released fluid.

The total reported impacted wildlife to date is two ducks and nine frogs. The contaminated area has been fully enclosed by wildlife fencing to maximize wildlife protection.

Nexen has coordinated tours of the spill site for the ministers of Energy and Environment and Parks, media, and local stakeholders, including representatives from Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, local First Nations and Metis Settlements.

AER staff remain on site to ensure all requirements are met with respect to incident response and cleanup. AER investigators continue to gather information to aid in the formal investigation of the cause of the incident.


July 23, 2015

Crews are onsite 24 hours/day. The company continues to improve access to the pipeline.

Sampling results confirm that the release has not affected the nearby unnamed lake.

Wildlife protection efforts continue to be upgraded and a survey of the area for impacted wildlife is being conducted. Flags and fence installation continues. No wildlife impacts have been reported in the past 24 hours.

AER staff remain on site to ensure all requirements are met with respect to incident response and cleanup. AER investigators continue to gather information to aid in the formal investigation of the cause of the incident.


July 21, 2015

Crews continue to work around the clock to remove bitumen emulsion from the site of the pipeline incident and develop better access to the impacted area. The release has not impacted the unnamed lake nearby. Wildlife protection efforts remain in place to ensure animal safety.

Nexen will host a media tour tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. at the site of the incident.

AER staff remain on site to ensure all requirements are met with respect to incident response and cleanup. AER investigators continue to gather information to aid in the formal investigation of the cause of the incident.


July 20, 2015

Nexen’s Emergency Response Plan remains activated and the company continues to work on the items required to comply with the AER Environmental Protection Order (EPO) issued on Friday.

Crews continue to work to remove bitumen emulsion (approximately 33% bitumen and 67% water from steam combined with sand) from the site of the incident. A trench has been created around the impacted area to collect fluid and booms are in place to contain any runoff.

Wildlife protection efforts continue to be upgraded and a survey of the area for impacted wildlife is being conducted.

AER staff remain on site to ensure all requirements are met with respect to incident response and cleanup. AER investigators continue to gather information to aid in the formal investigation of the cause of the incident.


July 18, 2015

Crews are working 24 hours/day to remove bitumen emulsion (approximately 33% bitumen and 67% water from steam combined with sand) from the site of the incident. A trench has been created around the impacted area to collect fluid, and booms are in place to contain any runoff. The company’s current focus is:

  • Prevent any impact to wildlife, or nearby waterbodies;
  • Cleanup the spill; and
  • Remove bitumen from the pipeline before it cools and solidifies.

On July 17, the AER issued an Environmental Protection Order (EPO) directing the company to:

  • Contain the spill, identify affected parties and notify them, and conduct testing in the area to delineate the spill impact
  • Develop a Water Body Management Plan, Wildlife Mitigation Plan, and Detailed Delineation and Remediation Plan.
  • Develop daily public reports and publish them to the Nexen website.
  • Submit a final report to the AER within 30 days of the completion of all work required in compliance with the Order.

An aerial survey and water samples have been conducted to confirm that a nearby lake has not been impacted by this incident.

AER staff remain on site to ensure all requirements are met with respect to incident response and cleanup. AER investigators continue to gather information to aid in the formal investigation of the cause of the incident.