Canadian Manufacturing

Environmental protection order issued to Nexen over pipeline failure

Alberta Energy Regulator orders company to plan spill management

July 20, 2015  by Canadian Staff

CALGARY—The Alberta Energy Regulator has issued an Environmental Protection Order to Nexen, pertaining to the pipeline failure that occurred approximately 36 kilometres south east of Fort McMurray. The company reported that an initial estimated emulsion volume of 5,000 cubic metres was released as a result of the pipeline failure.

The order directs the company to:

  • Contain the spill, identify affected parties and notify them, and conduct testing in the area for hydrocarbons and chlorides.
  • Develop a Water Body Management Plan, Wildlife Mitigation Plan, and Detailed Delineation and Remediation Plan.
  • Develop daily public reports and publish them to the Nexen website.
  • Submit a final report to the AER within 30 days of the completion of all work required in compliance with the Order.

The AER notes that some of the work required in this order has already begun. It also remarked that Environmental Protection Orders are not enforcement, they are remedial orders, directing the company to provide a plan to ensure the natural environment is reclaimed.

An AER investigation of the failure and subsequent spill is also underway. Once the investigation is complete, the AER will publish its findings. AER staff remain on site to oversee the company’s response.


The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.