September 1, 2015 5:23 pm
Updated: September 1, 2015 5:51 pm

Nexen says shutdown of Long Lake oilsands facility will take up to 2 weeks

A pipeline spill near Nexen's Long Lake facility, July 16, 2015.

Reid Fiest, Global News

CALGARY – Nexen Energy says the process of complying with a suspension order from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will take up to two weeks to complete, but couldn’t confirm how long the shutdown will last. AER said Friday the shut in at 95 pipelines in northern Alberta is because of “noncompliant activities at Long Lake oilsands operations” to do with pipeline maintenance and monitoring.

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“Nexen is complying with the AER’s suspension order,” said spokesperson Diane Kossman in an email to Global News. “We’re providing them with necessary documentation, suspending our pipelines, and shutting down our Long Lake oilsands operations. We’re managing the risks associated with safely shutting down this complex and integrated facility and, to our best estimate, the process will take up to two weeks to complete.”

Kossman said no “material impact” was expected on CNOOC Ltd.’s operations or financial conditions.

She said all affected pipelines either feed into or are situated within the Long Lake site.

When asked if the shut in would result in any layoffs, Cossman said Nexen’s personnel are “needed to continue to manage our operations, including complying with the AER’s suspension order.”

A spill of about five million litres of bitumen, sand and produced water was discovered near Nexen’s Long Lake oilsands facility, about 35 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray in late June. The break occurred just over a kilometre from the Long Lake plant. Nexen “sincerely apologized” for the impact it caused and is investigating along with AER.

READ MORE: ‘We sincerely apologize’ – Nexen’s ‘failsafe’ system didn’t detect massive northern Alberta pipeline spill

AER spokesperson Bob Curran told Global News Friday the regulator received a letter during the course of its investigation into the spill that “indicated Nexen was noncompliant.” He said that letter was received Aug. 25.

“Noncompliance could mean things like not being able to demonstrate they’ve been adequately monitoring or inspecting lines, things they’re required to do under the Pipeline Act or Pipeline Rules,” said Curran.

READ MORE: Crude Awakening: 37 years of oil spills in Alberta 

GALLERY: Aerial photos of the Nexen spill site

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