The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) issued a Suspension Order to Nexen Energy ULC on August 28, due to noncompliant activities at Long Lake oil sands operations pertaining to pipeline maintenance and monitoring.
The order, issued under Section 29 of the Pipeline Act, directs the company to:
- Immediately suspend 15 pipeline licences, which requires shut in of 95 pipelines that are carrying natural gas, crude oil, salt water, fresh water, and emulsion, and
- provide sufficient documentation to assure the AER that these lines can be operated safely.
As part of Nexen's Process Safety Managmenet program, Nexen initiated an internal audit of its corporate pipeline integrity management system in July. The audit identified a number of non-compliances. On Tuesday, August 25, nexen voluntarily self-disclosed all non-compliances to the AER, along with a schedule for an action plan.
Nexen officials released this statement: "As stated in our self-disclosure to the AER, Nexen considers regulatory compliance to be of the utmost importance in our operations, and we are committed to continuous improvement, regulatory compliance and cooperation with the AER.
"Our top priority is the safety of our employees, the public and the environment. We are preparing to comply with the AER’s order as we work to compile the necessary information and documentation. We look forward to continuing to work with the AER to come to resolution on the issue."
The AER investigation into Nexen’s Long Lake pipeline incident is ongoing. Once the investigation is complete, the AER will publish its findings. Additional information will also be reported by Nexen as it becomes available.