Clean-up and remediation of the Long Lake pipeline spill that occurred on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 is ongoing. The management teams of both CNOOC Limited and Nexen remain focused on maintaining a safe work site and minimizing the impact on the environment and wildlife.

On August 6, 2015 Nexen transitioned the spill site from our emergency operations team to our operations services team, which has assumed responsibility for ongoing cleanup and remediation efforts.

“Water and bitumen continue to be recovered from the site through a series of standard and low-impact bell holes,” explains Ron Bailey, Senior Vice President, Canadian Operations. “An excavator is used to dig standard bell holes near the perimeter of the release area, and in the area between the Unnamed Lake and the release, we’re using a combination of a recovery trench and hand-excavated low-impact shallow bell holes to limit the amount of impact to the surrounding environment.”

There is no indication of contamination to the Unnamed Lake from the emulsion release, evidenced by our sampling to date.

“Monitoring the water body will remain a top priority, but we don’t anticipate any short or long-term impact based on the mitigation measures that we’ve established,” says Ron.

A number of tests are conducted on water and soil samples, and one of the key compounds being monitored is chlorides, or salinity levels. The emulsion released was relatively low in chlorides, which is reflected in the low salinity levels of the samples collected to date.

Impact to wildlife continues to be monitored and mitigated by onsite biologists. Visual deterrents are being utilized, including brightly coloured flags and effigies of predators (owls and eagles) that are continually moved to prevent habituation. Hazing deterrents (cannons) also continue to operate. As an additional protective measure, white silage wrap is being used as a cover so birds don’t mistake the spill area for a mud flat. New deterrents will be put into place as required.

 

Ron notes that the deterrents have proven to be very effective. “As indicated in our previously published reports, we’re relieved that impacts to wildlife have been minimal.”

 

Bitumen recovery will be completed as weather allows. Once the temperature drops into single digits, the bitumen will be less malleable, allowing us to complete the excavation and disposal while limiting the amount of muskeg that would have to be removed.

“Remediation guidelines will be established through a comprehensive ecological risk assessment,” says Ron. “We currently don’t have a specific time frame for the site cleanup, but work will continue until the impact of the spill has been mitigated according to guidelines, and based on ongoing consultation with the Alberta Energy Regulator. Long-term monitoring will continue after the remediation activities are complete.”

“We continue to consult and share information with our nearest neighbours. We’ve also retained the services of local businesses to assist with remediation activities and environmental monitoring.”

Third-party consultants have been engaged to assist with Nexen’s internal investigation into the cause of this incident; there is currently no estimated completion date.

The AER is also conducting an independent investigation into the incident.

Operations at our K1A site have not resumed, and there is no estimate on timing for resumption of production. Regular updates will continue to be posted to our website: www.nexencnoocltd.com