A Conoco-Phillips pipeline in Alberta, Canada has been leaking condensate since the 9th of June, spewing out approximately 2400 barrels of condensate into a wildlife area that had been set aside for elk and grizzly bears.
The leak occurred in the Little Smoky Caribou Range near the company’s gas Resthaven plant, north of Grand Cache, Alberta. Other key wildlife zones, including a zone designated for grizzly bears, are just to the south of the spill area.
According to the Alberta Energy Regulator, there is a dead patch of vegetation the near the pipeline and a sheen on the water of nearby Webb Creek, which stretched for approximately 2.8 miles both upstream and downstream of a beaver pond. About 1.2 miles downstream of the affected area of the stream is the Simonette River. Although nothing was visible on the water, tests on the river have shown elevated levels of hydrocarbons, which are found in condensate.
The Alberta Energy Regulator has issued an environmental protection order to Conoco-Phillips. In its statement regarding the incident, the agency noted that “Much of the required work has already begun. Environmental protection orders are not enforcement; they are remedial orders directing the company to provide a plan to ensure that the environment is remediated.”
For its part, the company has shut down the line and is formulating a plan to investigate the cause of the leak. With regards to the waterway, the company has erected a boom. It has also begun using soaker pads, sending 150 people to the site as of Wednesday morning.
In a statement, Conoco-Phillips said that it is planning a full investigation into the incident when it has been “brought to a safe conclusion” and that will “participate fully” in the investigation by the AER.
Along with containing the spill, the AER has ordered the company to inform anyone who may be affected by the spill, collect oil and water samples, develop mitigation and remediation plans, and publish daily reports on the company website.