Enbridge Pipelines (Athabasca) Inc., a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc., (TSX:ENB) (NYSE:ENB) has confirmed the return to service of the Athabasca Pipeline (Line 19) between Cheecham and Hardisty. Enbridge is making every effort to ensure the effective and efficient clean up of the release on Line 37, and in parallel to assess the existing pipelines that remain shut down and mitigate any risk to determine when they may be restarted.
Enbridge shut down and isolated its Line 37 pipeline north of Cheecham, Alberta, at 5:21 a.m. MDT Saturday, June 22, 2013 after the Company's leak detection system detected a potential release from the line. Initial estimates place the volume of the release at approximately 750 barrels.
While the cause of the leak has not yet been confirmed, unusually heavy rainfall in the region is believed to have resulted in ground movement on the right-of way that may have impacted the pipeline. As a precaution, all other Enbridge pipelines in the area were shut down including the Athabasca and Waupisoo pipelines.
"In responding to the failure of Enbridge's 12-inch diameter Long Lake Lateral pipeline in northern Alberta, Enbridge's first priority is to ensure the safety of our response crews and to contain and clean up the released synthetic light crude oil with minimal environmental impact," said Stephen J. Wuori, President, Liquids Pipelines and Major Projects. "Various other lines within our oil sands regional system have also been shut down temporarily on a precautionary basis while geotechnical assessments are conducted on the potential for other damage. Our second priority is to complete the assessments as quickly as can be safely accomplished, and to restore service on these lines in order to minimize impacts to our customers.
"The southern portion of the Athabasca Pipeline system was safely restarted at 11 p.m. (MDT) June 23 and operations between Cheecham and Hardisty have been restored. The line segment north of Cheecham remains shut down until Enbridge can ensure its safe restart," said Mr. Wuori.
The Waupisoo Pipeline from Cheecham to Edmonton is undergoing an assessment today and may be cleared for restart as early as tomorrow. The remaining lines into Cheecham, other than the damaged Long Lake lateral, are undergoing geotechnical assessments and Enbridge is hopeful they may be returned to service over the next several days when these assessments are completed. Given extremely wet conditions, an extended period may be required to repair the Long Lake lateral, and other options to support the Long Lake project's requirements are being evaluated.
Approximately 75 personnel are expected on site today. The release occurred in a remote area accessible by helicopter and all-terrain vehicles. Enbridge is using rig mats to allow access to the site by vacuum trucks and skimmers, which will be used to remove product from the area.
Enbridge first responders with equipment are on-site and have installed booms which has contained product at the site and the local water bodies. There have been no reports of harm to wildlife. Wildlife deterrents have been deployed and the area is being fenced to prevent wildlife incursion.
An Incident Command System has been initiated that will continue around the clock and responders and support resources have been dispatched from Fort McMurray, Lac La Biche, Edmonton, Hardisty, Alberta and Kerrobert, Saskatchewan.
Line 37 was constructed in 2006 and is a 12-inch diameter pipeline that is 17-kilometers long and connects facilities in the Long Lake area to Cheecham and is part of Enbridge's Athabasca system.
Enbridge notified the Alberta Energy Regulator and is working with them, including Alberta Environment, government officials and local aboriginal communities. Enbridge will work with regulators and our community partners to ensure this situation is resolved safely and as quickly as possible.
For more information on Enbridge's regional pipeline systems, visit http://enbridge.com/MediaCentre/News/regionaloilsandsAAG.aspx