AER permits Nexen to operate 40 utility lines at Long Lake

Alberta Energy Regulator has approved resumption of operations on 40 pipelines related to utilities at the Long Lake oil sands project operated by Nexen Energy ULC. Some 55 lines remain shut in.

The 40 utility lines are for fuel gas, natural gas, and water. AER said the utility lines pose a low risk to public safety and environmental protection.

AER issued a suspension order on Aug. 28 for 95 lines due to noncompliance with the Pipeline Act and Pipeline Rules at Long Lake (OGJ Online, Aug. 31, 2015).

In July, AER reported that Long Lake leaked 5,000 cu m of emulsion—a mixture of bitumen, produced water, and sand (OGJ Online, July 17, 2015).

The 55 shut-in lines are for crude oil, natural gas, salt water, fresh water, and emulsion. AER said those lines will not return to service “until Nexen can demonstrate that the pipelines can be operated safely and within all requirements.”

Nexen said it received an amendment order from AER on Sept. 6. “As a result, Nexen is able to maintain approximately 75% of our Long Lake oil sands production and upgrader operations,” the company said.

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