Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pipeline Leak Fouls Creek near Grizzly Management Area in Northwestern Alberta

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Pipeline Leak Fouls Creek near Grizzly Management Area in Northwestern Alberta

Article excerpt

Pipeline leak fouls creek near grizzly area

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CALGARY - A pipeline leak has spilled an estimated 380,000 litres of light petroleum within five kilometres of a provincially designated grizzly bear management zone in northwestern Alberta, and an undetermined amount of it has reached a nearby creek.

Producer ConocoPhillips Canada said in a statement posted on its website Tuesday that the leak of condensate, a liquid produced with natural gas, was seen at a pipeline right-of-way near its Resthaven gas plant about 65 kilometres northeast of Grande Cache last Thursday afternoon.

It said its staff also observed condensate in nearby Webb Creek.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said condensate was visible as a sheen on the surface of the creek for about 4.5 kilometres below the pipeline leak.

The creek flows to a beaver dam and then into the Simonette River. While no sheen was visible on the river, an analysis indicated hydrocarbons present at slightly above minimum detection limits, the provincial agency said.

The AER said it was the largest hydrocarbon leak from a pipeline since Nexen, a subsidiary of China's CNOOC Ltd., spilled five million litres of bitumen emulsion in July 2015.

Meanwhile, the company said the pipeline, which along with the gas plant is jointly owned by ConocoPhillips and Calgary producer Paramount Resources (TSX:POU), has been shut down and isolated and the company has activated its emergency response plan.

"We have deployed over 150 responders to the site with equipment to contain the release and mitigate any environmental impact," the company said, adding that it had reported the leak to the regulator after discovering it last Thursday.

Fencing and amphibian barriers have been erected to keep wildlife away and a wildlife biologist is on site, it said.

Spokeswoman Michelle McCullagh defended the five-day lag between discovering the leak and beginning what it promises will be daily updates on its website. …

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