The company behind the 2016 oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River is proposing to build new pipelines to replace the failing structure that caused the leak.
Husky Energy is proposing a new set of pipelines to replace the pipeline that failed two years ago. The company held an open house in Prince Albert Wednesday to discuss plans for the project, which would see the construction of two new pipelines to transport blended crude and condensate to Lloydminster from across the North Saskatchewan River. The pipelines would be located in the rural municipalities of Britannia, Eldon and Frenchman Butte.
Husky is planning a new 20-inch line to transport crude to replace the current 16-inch line which was built in 1999. A new eight-inch line would also be built to transport condensate with another line planned for raw water. The new lines would be located about four kilometres downstream from the current location, parallel to the TransGas line.
Travis Davies, a Husky Energy spokesperson, said the new line would be bored in higher from the shore at the hilltops on each side to minimize the risk of ground shifting, a phenomenon which caused the 2016 spill. He said the new lines would be fitted with fibre optics along the route to monitor any strains or temperature fluctuations to the pipe. Husky has also improved its operating procedures, Davies said, to insure problems are reported sooner.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re here," Davies told paNOW. "We’re obviously quite a way downstream, but we are looking back to the impact we caused on the city at that point, and we want to talk about the things we’re doing differently."
He said Husky learned a lot during the oil spill, and all of those lessons would be applied to future projects.
“This is a much better project for a lot of reasons, better design, better steel, thicker steel, better technology, better management system (and) the sooner we can get this pipeline through, the sooner we can get off the other one.”
More public consultation is planned on the project, but Davies said Husky is hoping to start construction of the new pipeline in the fall. Once construction gets underway, the project should take 10 to 12 months to complete.
Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne attended the open house Wednesday and said the city supports the project.
“It’s still the safer way, in my opinion, to do it and the biggest thing is that we’re dealing with the right company,” Dionne said. “We had an incident, as everyone knew. Why did we get through it? It’s just the positive way they responded.”
The Husky oil spill in July 2016 caused more than 200,000 litres of oil to spill into the river near Maidstone. The company was later charged with violating provincial and federal environmental laws and paid $5 million to the City of Prince Albert for their costs related to the spill. Court proceedings in the case are still ongoing.
Husky has another open house planned Thursday night in North Battleford.
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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