Olduvaiblog: Musings on the coming collapse

Home » Posts tagged 'Fort McMurray'

Tag Archives: Fort McMurray

The Takehome Lesson From Neil Young: Read the Jackpine Mine Decision For Yourself | DeSmog Canada

The Takehome Lesson From Neil Young: Read the Jackpine Mine Decision For Yourself | DeSmog Canada.

Neil Young Waging Heavy Peace Book Cover

This is a guest post by energy economist Andrew Leach.

Neil Young and the Honour the Treaties Tour is crossing the country in support of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s court challenge against Shell’s proposal to expand its mining operations north of Fort McMurray.

The biggest risk I see from this tour is not that Neil Young says things which are wrong (there have been a few), that he blames Prime Minister Harper for promoting an industry that has played an important role in the policies of pretty well every Prime Minister to precede him in the past four decades (that part was pretty clear), or, least of all, that he’s a famous musician who hasn’t spent his life working on energy policy.

The biggest risk I see is that all of the heat and light around the Neil Young tour will distract you from what you should do, which is to sit down, read the mine approval, and decide for yourself what you think.

joint review panel approved (PDF) the Jackpine Expansion in July 2013, and in December, the project received cabinet approval. The most important issue here, so far over-shadowed during Neil Young’s tour, is summarized in one line in the decision letter: “the matter of whether the significant adverse environmental effects (of the project) are justified in the circumstances.”

This decision is likely to be as important for the future of the oil sands in Canada and its so-called social license as the pipelines, rail accidents and greenhouse gas policies which have been covered to a much larger degree in the media. This is a decision where your government had spelled out clearly before it the environmental risks and uncertainties of an oil sands project, in all its gory detail, and decided it was worth it or, “justified in the circumstances.”

We’ve come a long way from the days when then-Premier Ed Stelmach declared environmental damage from the oil sands to be a myth.  Around that time, in its approval of the Kearl oil sands mine, for which Phase I started last year, a Joint Review Panel concluded that, “the project is not likely to result in significant adverse environmental effects.” But, the panel evaluating Kearl raised a flag, saying that, “with each additional oil sands project, the growing demands and the absence of sustainable long-term solutions weigh more heavily in the determination of the public interest.”

We’ve now reached the point—the panel evaluating the Jackpine Mine left no doubt—where significant environmental consequences will occur in order to not (and, I kid you not, these are the words used) sterilize bitumen. Reading the Report of the Joint Review Panel (warning, it’s a slog) will be eye opening. Let me give you a couple of excerpts, in case you can’t spare the time:

·      The Panel has concluded that the Project would provide significant economic benefits for the region, the province, and Canada

·      The Project will provide major and long-term economic opportunities to individuals in Alberta and throughout Canada, and will generate a large number of construction and operational jobs.

·      The Panel concludes that the Project would have significant adverse environmental project effects on wetlands, traditional plant potential areas, wetland-reliant species at risk, migratory birds that are wetland-reliant or species at risk, and biodiversity

·      The Panel understands that a large loss (over 10,000 hectares) of wetland would result from the Project, noting in particular that 85 per cent of those wetlands are peatlands that cannot be reclaimed.

·      The Panel finds that diversion of the Muskeg River is in the public interest, considering that approximately 23 to 65 million cubic metres of resource would be sterilized if the river is not diverted

·      The Panel recognizes that the relevant provincial agencies were not at the hearing to address questions about why the Project (which seeks to divert the Muskeg River: author’s addition) is not included in the Muskeg River Interim Management Framework for Water Quantity and Quality;

·      The Panel concludes that it could not rely on Shell’s assessment of the significance of project and cumulative effects on terrestrial resources;

·      The Panel notes that a substantial amount of habitat for migratory birds that are wetland or old-growth forest dependent will be lost entirely or lost for an extended period;

·      The Panel is concerned about the lack of mitigation measures proposed for loss of wildlife habitat…that have been shown to be effective.

Don’t stop reading before you get to the good parts:

·      Although the Panel has concluded that the Project is in the public interest, project and cumulative effects for key environmental parameters and socioeconomic impacts in the region have weighed heavily in the Panel’s assessment;

·      All of the Aboriginal groups that participated in the hearing raised concerns about the adequacy of consultation by Canada and Alberta, particularly with respect to the management of cumulative effects in the oil sands region and the impact of these effects on their Aboriginal and treaty rights.

It’s these last two that have got us to where we are today—to a First Nation challenging the government in court for a decision that it made which valued bitumen over the environment and their traditional territory and for not fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult on that decision.

The decision on this project will, in all likelihood, go all the way to the top court in the land. The decision which really matters, however, will be the one you take: is it justified, in your mind, given the circumstances?

This article originally appeared on Maclean’s. Republished here with permission. Read Leach’s Neil Young Fact Check, also on Maclean’s, here.

Image Credit: Waging Heavy Peace book cover

Canadian singer rocks out against heavy oil – Features – Al Jazeera English

Canadian singer rocks out against heavy oil – Features – Al Jazeera English.

The Canadian government says Young should remember that oil extraction drives economic growth [Reuters]
Musician Neil Young kicked off his Honor the Treaties tour Sunday in Canada to raise money for a First Nations’ legal battle against a tar sands project activists say would violate treaty and constitutional rights of indigenous communities.

“We are killing these people,” Young told a crowd gathered at Toronto’s Massey Hall. “The blood of these people are on modern Canada’s hands.”

The tour began in Toronto, where Young spoke at a news conference along with Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) Chief Allen Adam and environmentalist David Suzuki before performing in front of a sold-out crowd.

The week-long tour will visit Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary. Proceeds from the shows will be donated to the legal-defense fund of the northern Alberta-based Athabasca tribal government challenging new tar sands projects.

During a news conference, Young, who visited a tar sands site near Fort McMurray, Alberta, called the industry “the greediest, most destructive and most disrespectful demonstration of something just run amok.” The rock legend said what he saw was a “devastating environmental catastrophe” that could only be compared to Hiroshima.

“We went to the homes of First Nations people and I met them,” Young told concert attendees at Massey Hall. “While I was there, I drove around the tar sands in my electric car and experienced this unbelievable smell and toxicity. My throat and eyes were burning, and this was about 25 miles away from the actual site at Fort (McMurray).”

‘Rigorous’ environmental laws

Calls by Al Jazeera to Alberta’s government representatives were not returned in time for publication. According to the Oil Sands Division of the Alberta Department of Energy website, the tar sands industry provides significant economic benefits to Albertans. The energy sector accounted for over 22 percent of Alberta’s GDP in 2012, according to the Alberta Department of Energy.

In Depth
Canada’s oil industry
Canada oil battle intensifies 
To the last drop
Canada could face native insurgency
Rebranding Canada’s ‘ethical’ oil
Canada mulls China oil bid

Alberta, furthermore, can expect $350bn in royalties and $122bn in total tax revenue from work at the tar sands over the next 25 years, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI).

Development of tar sands involves the extraction of heavy crude oil called bitumen from underneath the wilderness. Critics have warned of potentially catastrophic environmental consequences.

Fort McMurray lies on the outskirts of Jackpine Mine, which was approved for expansion by the government in July, 2013. That order convinced the Athabasca they had no choice but to fight the move in court for violating treaty agreements, which prohibit any activity that interferes with Athabasca’s ability to survive by hunting, fishing and trapping on their territory.

Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told CBC Canada Monday that the natural resource sector is a fundamental part of the country’s economy.

“Even the lifestyle of a rock star relies, to some degree, on the resources developed by thousands of hard-working Canadians,” MacDonald said in a statement. He added the government would “continue to ensure that Canada’s environmental laws and regulations are rigorous.”

Suzuki, who introduced Young in Toronto, said that the First Nation is simply asking the government to respect an agreement that it signed.

“These are some of the poorest people in Canada, and they’re telling us there’s more important things than money — like the air, the water and all the other living organisms on the planet,” Suzuki said.

‘David and Goliath’

The 1,200-member Athabasca tribe has asked Canada’s federal court to review Ottawa’s decision to allow the expansion, which would encroach on Athabasca land.

There has never been a mine turned down, despite thousands of pages of risks being presented to these panels

David Schindler, University of Alberta

“It’s a David and Goliath story,” Eriel Deranger, communications coordinator for the Athabasca First Nation, told Al Jazeera. The expansion could also violate federal laws covering fisheries and species at risk, Deranger said.

Deranger, an Athabasca tribe member, said the Jackpine Mine expansion would contribute to cumulative impacts that would break the treaty. She added that the government knew that when it was approved.

“The decision released in July made major admissions,” she said. “The panel admitted that the project would have significant adverse effects on the environment and in some cases even cause irreversible damage.”

David Schindler, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, testified at the Jackpine Mine hearings. He said the area had already seen severe environmental impacts by previous mines in the area.

“They’re talking about destroying 20 kilometers of the Athabasca River – that’s a fairly big body of water,” Schindler told Al Jazeera. “There are about 10,000 or more fish that go up and down that river, and it’s being treated as if it was a sewer.”

Deranger said the project would impact species like wood bison, caribou and other at-risk species as well as fisheries and waterways – with no proven method of reclamation afterward.

Schindler, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, said no real assessment process can be done by “a few government appointees known to favor the oil and gas industry.”

He said his 2008 study on the environmental impact of industry pollutants was at first discounted by the government, but was later confirmed by their own studies. In the end, tougher monitoring standards were recommended, but Schindler said the monitoring program is still controlled by the government.

“There has never been a mine turned down, despite thousands of pages of risks being presented to these panels,” Schindler said. “It makes you feel creepy having your government make a treaty and then violate it at every turn.”

The Athabasca First Nation says Shell, which operates the Jackpine Mine, breached its duties to “meaningfully consult” with the tribal council – a First Nation right across Canada in cases where energy industry activities could impact their territory.

A spokesman from Shell Canada told CBC Canada that company staff and senior leaders meet regularly to deal with aboriginal communities to discuss projects, training, business opportunities and cultural activities.

However, Deranger contested the seriousness of those meetings.

“We found our concerns are largely unaddressed … our rights left at the wayside in the development of these projects are either negated or ignored,” she said.

Oilsands Strategy Presentation Indicates ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ Has Come To Pass

Oilsands Strategy Presentation Indicates ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ Has Come To Pass.

A strategic analysis carried out in 2010 for the oilsands identifies a “worst-case scenario” for the industry that appears to have come to pass.

In a PowerPoint presentation evidently put together for oilsands giant Suncor, Texas-based intelligence consultancy Stratfor warns of a scenario in which the anti-oilsands movement “becomes the most significant environmental campaign of the decade as activists on both sides of the border come to view the industry as arrogant.”

That scenario is “exactly what has happened,” Mark Floegel, a senior investigator for Greenpeace, told Inside Climate News.

The North American environmental movement has coalesced around opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring oilsands product from Alberta to an oil terminal in Cushing, Okla. With the Obama administration repeatedly delaying a final decision on allowing the pipeline, the movement to stop it has grown into the most high-profile environmental battle of recent years.

The Stratfor presentation was released by Wikileaks, and was part of a massive trove of millions of documents it has obtained from the intelligence consultancy over the past two years.

Stratfor presents several options for oilsands companies to address opposition to their business. Among those options is simply doing nothing. Not responding could work because “activists are not stopping oilsands’ growth and they have no power in Alberta or Ottawa,” the PowerPoint presentation stated.

In the best case, the presentation said, environmental activists would move on to protesting the new hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, methods being used to extract oil. But while opposition to fracking has indeed materialized, the debate over the oilsands continues to dominate environmentalists’ agenda.

As New Republic puts it, the documents provide “rich evidence of how the industry thinks about its foes.”

Aside from doing nothing, the presentation also set out a number of other options for oilsands companies, including “rapid negotiations,” “intentionally delayed negotiations,” and “flying in formation” — meaning oilsands companies could come up with their own environmental initiatives, rather than bending to the demands of environmental groups.

The Stratfor presentation breaks down oilsands opponents into four groups: “radicals,” “idealists,” “realists” and “opportunists.” Each of the major environmental groups campaigning against Keystone are located within one of those four categories (see slideshow above).

Suncor denies ever seeing this report, Inside Climate News reports, however the presentation mentions Suncor by name repeatedly.

Stratfor, which Barron’s magazine once described as a “shadow CIA,” is not universally embraced as a source of corporate intelligence. The company has been criticized for preparing intel reports that are little more than analysis of publicly available information.

The group’s reputation among foreign policy writers, analysts, and practitioners is poor; they are considered a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight,” Max Fisher wrote in The Atlantic.

 

Documents raise concern over industry influence on delayed oilsands emissions regulations | Pembina Institute

Documents raise concern over industry influence on delayed oilsands emissions regulations | Pembina Institute.

Simon Dyer — Nov. 8, 2013

This week, the Pembina Institute reviewed a package of documents obtained under Alberta’s Freedom of Information legislation about future Alberta and federal greenhouse gas regulations.

The documents cover correspondence between the oil and gas industry association — the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) — and Alberta’s environment ministry from January to May of this year. Obtained by Greenpeace’s Keith Stewart, the documents formed the basis of a report from the CBC.

 

Steam is emitted from a bitumen processing facility in the oilsands. Photo: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute.If Alberta had indexed its $15/tonne price to inflation when it went into effect in 2007, it would likely reach $19 a tonne by 2020 — so a $20 price in 2020 is a token increase at best.

First off, their contents raise real concerns about the potential weakness of the future federal emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector. CAPP’s proposal is very weak, offering little more than a token increase from Alberta’s current regulations. Today, heavy industry facilities in Alberta face a 12 per cent emissions intensity target and a maximum price of $15 a tonne. Alberta’s regulations sunset next year and must be renewed; CAPP would like to see the next set of regulations moved to a 20 per cent target and a $20 a tonne price in 2020. (If Alberta had indexed its $15 a tonne price to inflation when it went into effect in 2007, it would likely reach $19 a tonne by 2020 — so a $20 price in 2020 is a token increase at best.)CAPP’s negotiating position has been reported before, so that’s not new. What these documents add is economic modelling of the impacts of that proposal, which would see oilsands emissions grow from 55 million tonnes (Mt) today to between 95 and 98 Mt in 2020. The cost to companies would grow from 10 cents a barrel today to a maximum of 23 cents a barrel. Overall, the proposal would fail even to achieve Alberta’s 2020 target — a goal that’s far weaker than the 2020 target Ottawa has adopted.

The industry’s briefing notes also stake out new positions in a couple of important areas: social license and the role of technology in improving the oilsands industry’s environmental performance.

  • On “social license,” meaning public support for their operations: In these documents, CAPP says that stronger rules are “unlikely” to improve the public’s perception of their industry. “The objection to the oilsands is ideological,” they write, so even if the strongest proposal on the table went into effect, “oilsands opponents would claim that they too were insufficient.”

For the record, we should note that when news of Alberta’s 40/40 proposal broke in April, we wrote that it “is encouraging, and it shows leadership.” The standard we used to assess that proposal, and any other proposal on the table, is whether it’s strong enough to help get Canada on track for its 2020 climate target. Since the federal government says it remains committed to that target, we think it’s an entirely appropriate way to assess the effectiveness of potential regulations for the sector. We also think that most Canadians would be supportive of the oilsands industry doing their fair share to reduce emissions.

  • On technology: Throughout its memo, CAPP objected to the proposals that would see a higher technology fund price — and thus leverage more technology deployment and innovation, two things they say publicly they want to support. Instead, CAPP’s private briefing note told the Government of Alberta that technology development is a cost to industry that affects the sector’s “near term competitiveness.”

Traffic near the Syncrude production site. Photo: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute.

Traffic near the Syncrude production site outside Fort McMurray. Photo: Julia Kilpatrick, Pembina Institute.

CAPP also makes the claim that the oilsands won’t reduce its emissions more quickly no matter which policy the government chooses, because “current technology is not yet available for deployment to a significant degree.” Thus, its own modelling concludes that the oilsands would reduce its emissions just 2 Mt below business as usual — in absolute terms, that means growing 100Mt rather than 102 Mt in 2020, a huge increase from 55 Mt today — under any of the scenarios for oil and gas sector regulations described in these documents.Pembina’s primary concern with regards to the oilsands has always been the cumulative impact of the oilsands which is driven by the pace and scale of development. While technology can help to drive down the carbon intensity of a barrel of oilsands crude over time, as CAPP itself shows it’s no panacea. The best way to control absolute greenhouse gas emissions is to manage the pace and scale of development — something governments and companies are reluctant to discuss.

Unhelpful to the case for the Keystone XL pipeline?

Interestingly, the industry’s briefing note also seems to undercut one of the key arguments for the Keystone XL pipeline.

This one takes a bit of explanation. The context is that President Obama said in June that he would only approve Keystone XL if it won’t significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. Right now, the U.S. State Department’s draft environmental assessment says the pipeline would have virtually no impact on greenhouse gas emissions because oilsands crude will find a way to market with or without Keystone XL. State’s analysis assumes that rail adds about $5 a barrel in extra costs to oilsands producers, relative to moving oil in a pipeline. In public, oilsands companies have been saying that rail is a viable option for them, one that allows the oilsands to keep expanding production.

In its private briefing note, CAPP says that a stronger environmental regulation would increase costs, “possibly lowering investments and reducing production.” Elsewhere in the briefing note, CAPP writes that under stronger regulations, “projects on the margin will be cancelled. Investments will go elsewhere.” CAPP concludes with a rhetorical question: “Will higher stringency requirements impact production and revenue? Very likely.”

But the most stringent proposal in these documents — Alberta’s 40 per cent target and $40 a tonne technology fund price — would add less than a dollar a barrel in new costs to oilsands companies.The most stringent proposal in these documents — Alberta’s 40 per cent target and $40 a tonne technology fund price — would add less than a dollar a barrel in new costs to oilsands companies.

There is no way to square those two perspectives. How does a dollar-a-barrel increase to address pollution curb oilsands production, while a five-dollar-a-barrel increase to ship oilsands by rail represents an insignificant cost that allows production to grow?

Industry can’t have it both ways.

To us, it seems clear that building a pipeline like Keystone — which provides oilsands companies lower-cost access to desirable markets — would create favourable conditions for oilsands expansion and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

None of the proposals on the table is likely to be strong enough to get Canada on track for its 2020 target.

Oilsands emissions grow significantly in all the scenarios on the table. The most stringent proposal would see at least a 60 per cent increase in emissions, reaching 88Mt in 2020 from today’s level of 55Mt.

But the Government of Alberta also looks at the total effect of these policy options on the province’s emissions and compares that to Alberta’s 2020 and 2050 climate targets. While none of the proposals would get Alberta on track for its 2050 target, both the federal and provincial proposals (as opposed to CAPP’s) could be strong enough to hit Alberta’s 2020 target.

We think these regulations should be designed to achieve our climate targets, so it’s heartening to see Alberta asking the right questions in the documents. Unfortunately, Alberta’s target is much weaker than Ottawa’s: Alberta allows provincial emissions to grow by over 25 Mt from the 2005 level, while Ottawa’s target requires national emissions to drop by 125 Mt from the 2005 level. So it’s safe to say that a regulation that only just achieves Alberta’s target is likely too weak to achieve Ottawa’s target.

Overall, what we read in these documents gives us real concern about the way these negotiations are heading. Getting the rules for oil and gas right is a make-or-break moment for Canada’s climate credibility. We need tough, effective rules to have any chance of hitting our national climate target in 2020.

In our view, strong rules are in the oilsands industry’s own best interests: as it stands today, the sector is facing tough questions about its environmental track record and doesn’t have good enough answers to give.

 

New environmental review rules anger oilsands critics – Technology & Science – CBC News

New environmental review rules anger oilsands critics – Technology & Science – CBC News. (source)

A Suncor oilsands mine facility seen from the air near Fort McMurray, Alta., on Sept. 19, 2011. In-situ oilsands developments, which involve melting oil directly out of the ground rather than being mined and then processed later, will not be required to undergo federal environmental assessments.
A Suncor oilsands mine facility seen from the air near Fort McMurray, Alta., on Sept. 19, 2011. In-situ oilsands developments, which involve melting oil directly out of the ground rather than being mined and then processed later, will not be required to undergo federal environmental assessments. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Many oilsands projects will not have their potential environmental impacts reviewed by the federal government under updated rules announced today, environmentalists warn.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released lists Friday outlining changes to the types of resource development and infrastructure projects that will routinely require a federal environmental assessment. The federal review is intended to look at possible environmental impacts under federal jurisdiction, such as impacts on waterways or greenhouse gas emissions.

One concern that environmentalists have with the new rules is they won’t require environmental reviews for a growing type of oilsands development.

CANADIANNATURAL/
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s Primrose Lake facility near Cold Lake, Alta., is an in-situ oilsands development. (Reuters)

In-situ oilsands developments — projects where the oil is melted directly out of the ground rather than being mined and then processed later — were not specifically addressed in the previous list of projects requiring federal environmental assessments, said Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaign coordinator and energy policy analyst for the environmental group Greenpeace. And now, they are not included in the new list of projects requiring them.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s announcement lists the types of projects that once required a federal environmental assessment that no longer do, including:

  • Groundwater extraction facilities.
  • Heavy oil and oilsands processing facilities, pipelines (other than offshore pipelines) and electrical transmission lines that are not regulated by the National Energy Board.
  • Potash mines and other industrial mineral mines (salt, graphite, gypsum, magnesite, limestone, clay, asbestos).
  • Industrial facilities (pulp mills, pulp and paper mills, steel mills, metal smelters, leather tanneries, textile mills and facilities for the manufacture of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pressure-treated wood, particle board, plywood, chemical explosives, lead-acid batteries and respirable mineral fibres).

The government also released a list of projects that did not specifically require a federal environmental assessment before but now do, including:

  • Diamond mines.
  • Apatite mines.
  • Railway yards; international and interprovincial bridges and tunnels.
  • Bridges that cross the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • Offshore exploratory wells.
  • Oil sands mine expansions.

Focus on ‘major projects’

The government said the changes were made so that the agency’s work is focused on “major projects” that have the “greatest potential” to generate negative environmental impacts under federal jurisdiction, such as impacts on waterways, and other projects would not be “unduly burdened” with extra work.

CANADIANNATURAL/
A leak at the Primrose Lake oilsands project had released an estimated 1.5 million litres of bitumen into the environment as of the end of September. (Reuters)

The federal government heard from a wide range of stakeholders, including industry and environmental groups, before deciding what would be covered under the new rules.

Stewart said that while the government acknowledged environmental groups’ concerns, it did not make changes based on those concerns.

Most notably, he said Greenpeace is concerned about the lack of routine environmental assessments of in-situ oilsands developments. He noted that this type of project is the source of a huge bitumen leak Northern Alberta. As of the end of September, the leak near Cold Lake had already released 1.5 million litres of bitumen – a mixture of oilsands, heavy crude and water into the environment. The Alberta government has ordered the project operator, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., to drain two-thirds of a lake in an effort to stop the leak.

Stewart said 80 per cent of known oilsands deposits are so deep that they are only accessible with in-situ technology.

“Yesterday, Environment Canada released report which projected that by 2020, this type of oilsands development will be generating more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the Maritime provinces put together today,” he added.

“They’re exempting themselves from environmental oversight over what’s going to be the biggest source of new pollution in the country in coming decades.”

The group that represents oilsands producers said developments will still face provincial environmental reviews.

“The province still has a mandate to do an assessment, so this eliminates two layers of doing the same thing — the provincial government will still do its review and it will be equally as comprehensive,” said Geraldine Anderson from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

While acknowledging that provincial environmental assessments will still be required for some projects, Stewart calls the permitting process for in-situ oilsands development in Alberta “a rubber stamp.”

In 2012, the federal government announced a major overhaul of the federal environmental assessment program, introducing fixed timelines for major projects and reducing the number of departments and agencies that can do environmental reviews from 40 to just three.

 

Canadian Natural cuts production after gas-pipeline rupture | Canada | Reuters

Canadian Natural cuts production after gas-pipeline rupture | Canada | Reuters. (source)

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd said on Thursday it has cut production at its 115,000 barrel per day Horizon oil sands project and its Woodenhouse heavy oil operations after natural gas supplies were cut following a rupture on TransCanada Corp’s Nova regional natural-gas pipeline network.

Canadian Natural said in an email that production has been reduced following the incident on TransCanada’s 1.6 billion cubic foot per day North Central Corridor pipeline, which delivers gas to the Athabasca oil sands region.

 

TransCanada Pipeline Leak Being Investigated

TransCanada Pipeline Leak Being Investigated. (source)

CALGARY – Service on a natural gas pipeline that feeds oilsands producers in northern Alberta has been mostly restored after being disrupted by a leak.

“TransCanada (TSX:TRP) has confirmed that its response personnel successfully isolated the pipeline break section that occurred earlier (Thursday) on our North Central Corridor system, and has now resumed delivery of natural gas to most of its industrial customers in the area,” said spokesman Shawn Howard.

“TransCanada will be working with its remaining customers to restore full service.”

Howard said a drop in pressure on the line, 140 kilometres west of Fort McMurray, was detected about 2:50 a.m. Thursday.

At least one oilsands producer in the area was affected by the leak. A Suncor spokeswoman said its operations have been slowed, but that it was too early to say by how much.

No public safety threat was expected from the leak in the 92-centimetre-wide pipe. It carries sweet gas, which is low in poisonous hydrogen sulphide.

The nearest residence is about 50 kilometres away. Although a work camp is a couple of kilometres from the site, it was not evacuated.

“Natural gas, particularly sweet natural gas, does tend to dissipate quite quickly into the atmosphere,” said Rebecca Taylor, spokeswoman for the National Energy Board.

“You wouldn’t see pooling of product on the ground.”

First Nations in the area were notified of the leak, she added.

A spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board said the agency was aware of the leak and was following up with the company to gather more information. No decision had been made by Thursday afternoon to send investigators.

Howard said the cause of the line break is not yet known and will be determined during a subsequent investigation.

Energy board investigators were on site.

 

National Household Survey: Canada’s Diversity Not Reflected In Income Distribution

National Household Survey: Canada’s Diversity Not Reflected In Income Distribution.

 

%d bloggers like this: