Husky Energy absolves itself in oil spill: ground “buckled”

By Taylor MacPherson
November 17, 2016 - 4:31pm Updated: November 18, 2016 - 5:47am

Hussky Energy released a final report Thursday detailing the causes of the oil spill which sent more than 200,000 litres of oil and solvent into the North Saskatchewan River July 21. The company said it was not readily responsible, claiming geotechnical forces in the ground.

Despite facing criticism for a 14-hour delay between the start of the spill and the first official response, Husky’s report concludes “the operaters responded appropriately to the data being observed and took proper steps to investigate.”

According to a geotechnical report commissioned by Husky, the pipeline break was the result of ground movement at the site. A metallurgic evaluation concluded the break was a “sudden, one-time event in a section of the pipe that had buckled due to the force of ground movement.”

The report also said the break was not the result of any material defect, corrosion, or deficiency in the pipe itself.

Husky’s report said when the pipeline was installed in 1997, a third-party assessment concluded the area was not geotechnically active.

Husky said they will be taking several steps to ensure the spill does not repeat itself, including regular re-assessment of geotechnical risks, and reviewing leak detection practices and procedures. A specific time period will be allowed for diagnostic analysis before a pipeline must be shut down, and their leak detection systems are being adjusted to reduce false alarms.

The report was originally due Oct. 21, but Husky received a 30-day extension from the province in order to complete the geotechnical and metallurgical assessments.

Minister of Environment Dustin Duncan said the report doesn't signal the end of the investigation for them.

"It's an important part, but we will continue to do our own investigation," he said.

Duncan said he expects a report from the province will be complete by early next year.

"The conclusion that is drawn in the report, in terms of ground movement causing the breach, is consistent with ministry officials that are part of the investigation."

-with files from News Talk Radio


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On Twitter: @TMacPhersonNews

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