Canadian Manufacturing

AER lays more charges against Apache for 2014 Alberta spill

U.S.-based company could face a fine of up to $2.5 million for alleged pipeline safety violations



CALGARY—More charges have been laid against Apache Corp. over the safety of its pipelines in Alberta.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said Monday that the U.S. company could be slapped with a penalty of up to $2.5 million for a spill in northwestern Alberta two years ago.

In that incident, about 1.9 million litres of contaminated water spilled about 40 kilometres northwest of Whitecourt, Alta., affecting a nearby creek.

Apache has been charged on five counts under the Pipeline Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. The first court appearance on the issue is scheduled for Feb. 9 in Whitecourt.

The regulator says this is the third action against Apache in seven months.

In October, Apache was charged on seven counts for a 2013 spill near Zama City, Alta. The first appearance on that matter was scheduled for last month in High Level Provincial Court and the case is still ongoing.

An AER spokesman said at the time that Apache faced charges of up to $3.1 million for the Zama incident, during which a pipeline spilled 1.8 million litres of a mixture of water, salt, oil and minerals onto more than 3.8 hectares of land.

In July, the AER fined Apache the maximum administrative penalty of $16,500 and issued four orders to improve pipeline safety.

Apache spokesman Paul Wyke declined to comment on matters before the courts.

“Apache takes its environmental responsibility very seriously,” he said in an emailed statement.

“Pipeline integrity on our gathering systems is a critical component of meeting that responsibility and Apache has a robust pipeline integrity management system in place to mitigate the risk of future pipeline incidents.”

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