CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A section of an intra-provincial oilfield pipeline under construction in Canada's oil heartland of Alberta needs replacement after being damaged by an act of "mischief," authorities said on Monday.
The incident happened in Hythe, about 500 km (310 miles) northwest of the provincial capital of Edmonton, late on Saturday and was reported to police on Sunday.
It involved a pipeline belonging to Paramount Resources Ltd, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator(AER). No product was leaked as the pipeline is not yet operational.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it appeared the culprit or culprits tried to used construction equipment on site to dig up the pipeline, and they estimated the damages at C$500,000 ($380,000) to C$700,000.
Police did not provide a motive for the incident, but said officers are investigating.
The AER, which regulates pipelines that are entirely within Alberta, confirmed the damaged line was under its jurisdiction, but declined to provide additional details.
Paramount, which produces natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids, did not immediately have information on the pipeline or the product it was intended to carry.
While there had been no harm to people or the environment, the pipeline's construction could be delayed as a result of the incident, said Darrel Purdy, Paramount corporate operating officer.
Further investigation is needed to determine any impact on the project schedule.
Purdy said the company will have security personnel on site at night when construction is not happening.
There was no security on site when the incident happened, not an uncommon industry practice.
Reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta; Editing by Alan Crosby and Cynthia Osterman