The Saskatchewan government and Crescent Point Energy have confirmed that a pipeline containing an oil and water mix spilled into a farmer’s field just north of Swift Current, Sask.
According to Neil Smith, the chief operating officer at Crescent Point Energy, 100 cubic metres of oil (100,000 litres) or just under 700 barrels of oil and water effluent leaked in a farmer’s canola field near Pennant, Sask. on Aug. 2. at around 3 p.m.
Smith said the pipeline was transporting emulsion from one part of the field to a facility that separates the oil and water. The leak happened in one section of about 1.2 kilometres.
“This is not an oil transmission line at all,” Smith said.
The spill was five to 10 per cent produced crude oil and 90 per cent produced water.
On Friday, Laurie Pushor, deputy minister of the economy in Saskatchewan, said the government was notified by Crescent Point Energy immediately after it was told of the leak by a neighbouring company.
“They responded immediately, it is very common for field operators to share information when it is seen,” Pushor said.
Pushor also said the company is conducting an investigation into how the leak occurred.
“One of the questions would be how long it was leaking,” Pushor said.
Smith said the other company noticed a stain on the pipeline while looking at its own equipment then called Crescent Point. Crescent Point’s monitoring equipment did not pick up a change in pressure or flow rate.
“We purposefully inspect but there’s also traffic going by, so it turned out it was another company who was doing one of their routine maintenance checks,” Smith said.
“We immediately went out, we immediately shut the line in, we immediately notified the regulatory government authorities, we immediately let the landowner know and then we started the cleanup.”
According to Smith, the leak affected crops in the immediate area and there was a slough on the edge of the field that the effluent leaked into. However, the leak did not affect any fish, wildlife or drinking water.
“It was contained in about 50 metres by about 15 metres area, and then the slough, it would go there, so that would spread a little bit further on there, but it’s still a contained body of water,” Smith said.
Crescent Point is currently investigating how long the leak lasted for and why that area of the pipeline was breached.
“We will shut in the line, we’ll unearth the line and we’ll not only visually look at it, we may cut that piece out and take it into a lab,” Smith said.
The majority of the cleanup was completed on the first day. There is a small recovery left due to rain earlier in the week slowing down the cleanup.
The spill was about half of the Husky oil spill, which saw 200 to 250 cubic meters (200,000 to 250,000 litres of oil) blended with diluent (a chemical added to heavy oil to make it flow more easily) leak from a pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River near Maidstone, Sask. That spill was discovered on July 21.
“Spills…do happen, but the main focus is that there’s ongoing vigilance in monitoring,” Smith said.
“There is a huge amount of preventative work to make sure there are not issues, so there have been spills, but we’ve certainly never experienced a spill to the extent that Husky is dealing with right now.”