Husky gets OK to restart pipeline after spill
The Saskatchewan government has given Husky Energy permission to restart a 16-inch pipeline that was shut down after 225,000 litres of heavy crude spilled near and into the North Saskatchewan River last summer.
Government prosecutors, meanwhile, are still looking into whether the Calgary-based company should face environmental charges, which could result in millions of dollars in fines, for the July 20, 2016, incident.
“Significant testing, inspection and evaluation of the repairs to this line have been undertaken,” government spokeswoman Kathy Young said in an email, one day after the Ministry of the Economy — which regulates most pipelines in the province — authorized the restart.
“Husky’s integrity management program has been updated to include all geotechnical hazards and all management programs have been updated and implemented.”
The spill, which forced downstream communities to close their water treatment plants’ river intakes, has been attributed to an “active landslide” causing the pipeline to buckle and leak oil for hours before it was shut down.
Husky president and CEO Rob Peabody said this summer that leak detection systems in place on the pipeline did not fail, but “there wasn’t an unambiguous message coming from the systems.”
Young, in the email, said the crossing has been upgraded to include thicker pipe, inclinometers to measure ground movement, “state-of-the-art fiber optic” leak detection systems and a reconfiguration of the pipeline.
The pipeline has also undergone 10 successful pressure tests overseen by the provincial regulator and a third-party engineering firm, Young said in the email, adding that Husky must submit data on the pipeline weekly and inspect it every six months.
“All work on the line has been verified by the provincial regulator and a third-party engineering firm.”
Husky said in February that the total cost of cleaning up the spill is $107 million.