Saskatchewan oil spill overshadows Husky’s production advances

About 1,570 bbl of heavy oil and diluent leaked from Husky Energy Inc.’s Saskatchewan gathering system pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River on July 21, southeast of Lloydminster.

Husky representatives and officials from federal and provincial governments are working on the cleanup. About half of the liquids have been recovered. A cause has not been determined, but the spill began about 300 m from the river near Maidstone and is still moving past riverside communities.

North Battleford shut water intakes on July 22 and the city of Prince Albert shut intakes on July 25. Prince Albert has declared a local state of emergency and on July 24 began rolling out a 30-km emergency water line to connect with the South Saskatchewan River.

Some booms on the river have been described as ineffective as the river has lifted oil over the booms.

Separately, in its statement on second quarter results on July 22, Husky Energy cited advances in steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects in western Canada.

The Sunrise SAGD oil sands project was restarted in June following the Alberta wildfires, and all 55 well pairs are back online. Recent volumes have averaged 30,000 b/d compared with 5,500 b/d a year earlier.

The company said the Tucker thermal project in Alberta averaged about 20,000 b/d in June and compared it with 4,000 b/d “at the end of 2010 when the current rejuvenation program began.”

The 10,000-b/d Vawn Lloyd thermal project in Saskatchewan is producing about 5,500 b/d. Steaming and oil production began earlier this year (OGJ Online, June 17, 2016).

Husky said an additional 18 Lloyd thermal projects have been identified for potential advancement.

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