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Husky oil spill leads to new rules

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World Pipelines,

As reported by CTV News, CBC News and Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the Saskatchewan government is proposing tougher pipeline rules in the wake of the Husky oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River in July.

Energy and Resources Minister, Dustin Duncan, has introduced new legislation, which he says addresses concerns raised by the provincial auditor in 2012. One of the auditor's recommendations was for the province to monitor pipelines and flowlines. In response, Duncan has stated that the province will begin licensing over 80 000 flowlines, which have been exempt until now.

The province will also establish that ministry staff have new inspection, investigation and compliance powers. They also want penalties to be modernised and seek financial assurance from operators for pipelines in high risk locations, such as water crossings.

The new legislation will also raise penalty provisions to a maximum of CAN$500 000/d from CAN$50 000/d.

Duncan is yet to decide whether additional changes are needed. He will consider this following the province's investigation into the Husky Oil spill is complete.

Meanwhile, Husky Oil is blaming shifting ground, or ‘geotechnical activity’, for the pipeline burst. It noted that the spill took place about 160 m from the river and that 225 000 litres of oil was released, of which roughly 40% entered the river.

The spill dumped as much as 250 000 litres of heavy crude oil into the North Saskatchewan River and jeopardised the drinking water of thousands of people. Husky is said to have spent approximately CAN$90 million responding to the spill. The company finally completed its shoreline cleanup efforts in October.

According to the company, all but 15 000 litres of product were retrieved in its cleanup attempt.

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