Apache Faces More Charges in Canada over Safety

March 2016, Vol. 243, No. 3

The Alberta Energy Regulator said Apache could be slapped with a penalty of up to $2.5 million for a spill in northwestern Alberta two years ago. In that incident, contaminated water spilled about 40 km from Whitecourt, affecting a nearby creek. Apache has been charged on five counts under the Pipeline Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The regulator says this is the third action against Apache in seven months. In October, Apache was charged on seven counts for a 2013 spill near Zama City. The case is still ongoing. An AER spokesman said at the time that Apache faced charges of up to $3.1 million for the Zama incident, during which a pipeline spilled a mixture of water, salt, oil and minerals onto more than 3.8 hectares of land. In July, the AER fined Apache the maximum administrative penalty of $16,500 and issued four orders to improve pipeline safety.

Apache spokesman Paul Wyke declined to comment on matters before the courts. “Apache takes its environmental responsibility very seriously,” he said in an email. “Pipeline integrity on our gathering systems is a critical component of meeting that responsibility and Apache has a robust pipeline integrity management system in place to mitigate the risk of future pipeline incidents.”

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