UPDATE 2-ConocoPhillips pipe spills light oil near Alberta caribou range

Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:27pm EDT
 
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(Adds context on previous spills, pipeline length)

By Nia Williams

June 14 (Reuters) - A ConocoPhillips pipeline has leaked nearly 2,400 barrels of condensate, an ultra-light form of oil, within an endangered caribou and grizzly bear range in west-central Alberta, the company said on Tuesday.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) issued an environmental protection order to the company, which shut down and isolated the pipeline and is investigating the cause of the spill.

It is the largest hydrocarbon leak from a pipeline in Alberta since Nexen Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of China's CNOOC ltd, spilled 31,500 barrels of bitumen emulsion in July 2015, according to the AER website.

Last month Apache Canada Ltd spilled 3,800 barrels of produced water near Whitecourt, Alberta.

ConocoPhillips first reported the leaking of condensate, an ultra-light hydrocarbon, from a 7.25-kilometre (4.5-mile) pipeline near its Resthaven gas plant on June 9.

The spill is around 65 km(40 miles) northeast of Grand Cache, Alberta, and is within the Little Smoky Caribou Range, according to the AER. A key wildlife and biodiversity zone is 1 km (0.6 mile) northwest of the site, while a core grizzly bear zone is 5 km (3 miles) south.

The AER said there was a dead patch of vegetation near the pipeline and a visible sheen on Webb Creek 300 meters (328 yards) away, which stretched for approximately 4.5 km (2.8 miles) upstream and downstream of a beaver pond.   Continued...