Enbridge oilsands pipeline still offline, more of system restored
During the weekend about 750 barrels leaked from the company's pipeline that runs from its Long Lake oilsands project to the Cheecham Terminal.
CALGARY—Enbridge Inc. says it has restored services to more of a regional pipeline system that takes oilsands production from northern Alberta to an important hub further south in the province.
However, a segment between Fort McMurray, Alta., and the Cheecham Terminal—near the site of a weekend leak—remains offline as more data is collected and work on repairs continues, the Calgary-based company said Wednesday.
The company has made an initial estimate on the financial impact of repairing its equipment, cleaning up the spill and the related shutdowns. The shutdowns are expected to cut about $1 million per day from earnings, it said.
Enbridge hasn’t estimated the cost of repairs and cleanup but notes some costs will be covered by insurance.
The relatively small leak, estimated at up to 750 barrels, occurred on Line 37 which is a pipe from the Long Lake Oil sands project to Enbridge’s Cheecham Terminal.
The company quickly shut off not only Line 37 but also the larger Waupisoo Pipeline (Line 18) between its Cheecham Terminal and Edmonton and the Athabasca Pipeline (Line 19) between Cheecham and Hardisty, Alta.
Enbridge announced Tuesday that the southern portion of the Athabasca line was operating again and announced on Wednesday that service on the Waupisoo Pipeline had also been restored.
As a result, service to the Surmont, Christina Lake and Leismer oil sands projects has been restored.
However, services was still off along the Wood Buffalo line and a northern portion of the Athabasca line, linking the Cheecham Terminal to Fort McMurray, as well as Line 37 to the Long Lake oilsands upgrader.
“A geothechnical analysis of the pipelines in the vicinity of Line 37 will need to completed and excavation and inspections undertaken, before these lines can safely be restarted,” Enbridge said.
“Heavy equipment and crews have been mobilized to the site to augment resources, but extremely wet working conditions continue to pose challenges to response efforts.”
The release of crude on Saturday came as Alberta grappled with major flooding, including in the city of Calgary where Enbridge has its head office.
Enbridge also said that control, monitoring and operation of its liquids pipelines network is based in Edmonton and not affected by the flooding.
The 540-kilometre Athabasca line can carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of crude from the Athabasca and Cold Lake regions to Hardisty, Alta., a major pipeline hub in eastern Alberta, about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.
The Waupisoo line can carry up to 600,000 barrels per day to Edmonton from Cheecham Terminal, near the site of the spill, about 70 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, Alta.