Builder of leaky Nexen pipeline said it followed designs

Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:34pm EDT
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By Mike De Souza

CALGARY, July 20 (Reuters) - The builder of a ruptured Nexen Energy oil sands pipeline in Canada that caused one of North America's largest oil-related land spills said on Monday it had followed the design plans it was given for the infrastructure.

Surerus Pipeline Inc, a contractor based in Fort St. John in British Columbia, "had no involvement in this project after the completion, so whatever Nexen's doing, they're doing," said Sean Surerus, vice president of the company, said in an interview.

"The project was completed to the standards. We were the installers. ... We had no design capacity in the project."

Nexen, a subsidiary of China's CNOOC Ltd, discovered last week that the double-layer pipeline, built in 2014 south of Fort McMurray in Alberta, had leaked more than 31,500 barrels of emulsion - a mixture of bitumen, water and sand - onto an area of about 16,000 square meters.

Oil sands, as these naturally occurring deposits are called, are found in large quantities in Alberta, and require large amounts of energy and water to extract and process into heavy grade oil.

The Nexen leak was larger than the July 2010 rupture of an Enbridge Inc pipeline which spilled an estimated 20,000 barrels of crude, with some reaching Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

The latest spill dealt another blow to the oil sands industry, which is under fire from environmental groups and aboriginal communities for its carbon intensive production process.   Continued...