CALGARY—The Alberta Energy Regulator has amended the suspension order imposed on Nexen Energy ULC, allowing the company to resume operations on 10 production pipelines at its Long Lake oilsands facility. Though 45 lines remain shut in, the company said it is now able to return to full production.
“Following AER inspections of the site, a review of documentation, and Nexen’s subsequent actions, the AER is satisfied that the current operating conditions of the production lines pose a low risk to public safety and environmental protection,” the regulator said.
The company will be required to implement an action plan approved by the AER, which includes “rigorous” daily inspections, additional testing, and additional monitoring of the affected lines. Nexen must provide the AER with regular updates and inspection results.
The suspension order followed a pipeline failure that spilled 5 million litres of emulsion, the equivalent of thousands of barrels of oil, at its Alberta site this July.
Despite the company’s ability to return to full production, 45 pipelines remain suspended. The AER said the order will remain in place until Nexen can demonstrate the pipelines can be operated safely.
Meanwhile, the regulator continues to investigate.
“AER continues to review the matter and will determine the level of enforcement action that Nexen may face once the investigation is complete. Enforcement can range from administrative penalties to prosecution depending on the outcome of the investigation. The investigation into the Nexen Long Lake pipeline failure is ongoing,” the AER said.