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Oil pipeline spills in Saskatchewan

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World Pipelines,

According to news sources, on 23 January, the provincial government of Saskatchewan announced that a pipeline in the western Canadian province has leaked 200 000 l (52 834 gal.) of oil onto agricultural land that is owned by Ocean Man First Nation.

The Ministry of Environment was notified of the spill, which occurred just north of Stoughton, on the afternoon of 20 January. While the pipeline breach covered a diameter of between approximately 15 - 20 m, Doug McKnight, Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of the Economy, has claimed that 170 000 l of oil have since been recovered from the site. The pipeline was shut down once the breach had been discovered and the spill has been fully contained.

Regina Leader-Post reported: “Authorities said the spill site is in a low-lying area that contains a frozen slough. The spill is, they say, fully contained and oil is not entering into any creeks or streams.”

As reported by Reuters, McKnight added that Tundra Energy Marketing Inc, which has a line adjacent to the spill, is leading cleanup efforts, which began on 21 January. So far, the cleanup has seen the removal of surface oil with vacuum trucks, however, a dig onsite is expected in the next two days.

McKnight stated: “The excavation I expect to start on Wednesday, to find the damaged pipe.

“It’s not until we remove the cover and get down [that we will] be able to identify exactly where the source is. We think it is the general area, but until you remove the cover, you won’t really know.”

As of yet it has not been confirmed which company owns the pipeline. While this cannot be known for certain until the source of the spill has been confirmed, as McKnight has expressed, the presumption remains that the pipe is Tundra’s.

Ocean Man Chief Connie Big Eagle highlighted that the Nation has approximately 540 residents, of which one third live on the reserve. She added that a resident smelt the scent of oil for a week before locating the spill and alerting the Big Eagle on Friday.

“[The spill] appears to be by an old well site that’s on Ocean Man land,” Connie Big Eagle added. “The slough is not located within the old well site, it’s kind of beside it.”

"We have got to make sure that Tundra has done everything that they can to get our land back to the way it was. That can take years," she said. "They have assured me that they follow up and they don't leave [...] until we are satisfied."

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