Enbridge Oil Spill in N.W.T. Could Top 1,500 Barels

June 7, 2011
Dina O'Meara
Calgary Herald

CALGARY — An oil leak in a remote area of the Northwest Territories could reach up to 1,500 barrels — substantially more than the four barrels originally reported by pipeline operator Enbridge Inc.

The Calgary-based pipeline operator said Monday its original estimate was based on oil found on land at the leak site, located about 50 kilometres south of Wrigley, N.W.T., and didn’t take into account seeping into the soil.

“Based on current estimates provided by the third party experts on site, Enbridge anticipates the release volume could range from a minimum of 700 barrels to a maximum of 1,500 barrels,” said spokeswoman Gina Jordan, in an e-mail late Monday. “Based on its current analysis, Enbridge anticipates the probability that the maximum volume would be exceeded to be low.”

The company has removed about 100 barrels of oil from the site, she said.

Enbridge last year faced an environmental and public relations nightmare after its Line 6b ruptured in late July, spewing almost 20,000 barrels of oil into Michigan waterways.

Jordan said the N.W.T. leak was contained along the pipeline right of way and no watercourses were threatened.

The Norman Wells to Zama, Alta., line was restarted May 20, but is not at full operations due an outage on the Zama to Hardisty, Alta., Rainbow line, operated by Plains Midstream Canada.

Rainbow was shut down in late April after a leak was detected on the system near the community of Little Buffalo in northwest Alberta. The 28,000 barrel spill was the largest in Alberta for decades.


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