Nexen Energy ULC is investigating a pipeline spill at its Long Lake oil sands facility south of Fort McMurray that has leaked thousands of cubic metres of emulsion.
In the afternoon of July 15, an emulsion leak from a pipeline was discovered within Nexen's Long Lake operations. According to Nexen the leak has been stabilized and the site is under control.
Ron Bailey, senior vice-president of Canadian operations held a press conference Friday morning, apologizing for the spill.
"We are deeply concerned with this, and we sincerely apologize for the impact this has caused," he said. "We will take every step that we see as reasonable, and as the regulators help us decide what to do to respond to this."
The size of the spill is estimated to be 5,000 m3 of emulsion, over an area of approximately 16,000 m2 mostly within a compacted pipeline corridor. This makes it one of the largest leaks in the province's history. Emulsion is a mixture of bitumen, produced water and sand.
The double-walled Nexen pipeline is new, and just started operations last year.
"All necessary steps and precautions have been taken, and Nexen will continue to utilize all its resources to protect the health and safety of our employees, contractors, the public and the environment, and to contain and clean up the spill," reads a statement from Nexen.
There were no injuries due to the incident and the pipeline has been isolated.
According to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), which has responded to the spill, 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.