Alberta oil company reports leak of more than 100,000 litres of oil and water

CALGARY — More than 100,000 litres of oil and water have leaked into a marsh east of Jenner in southern Alberta from an oil pipeline that belonged until recently to environment-focused Imaginea Energy Corp.

The liquids leaked from a line owned by Calgary-based Cor4 Oil Corp. and flowed down a hill into a marsh, the Alberta Energy Regulator reported on its website.

The spill of oil mixed with produced water was detected on Saturday afternoon, resulting in activation of Cor4’s response plan and immediate AER notification, the company said in a statement Monday.

“The release has travelled off site, with a portion of the released fluids contacting a low-lying slough/grassy bog area,” it said.

“Impact on wildlife is currently being assessed by specialists on site, but appears to have been minimal. Crews have physically contained the spilled fluids from causing further contamination, and have already recovered a significant volume of the released fluid from the surface.”

The spill is affecting farmland that is not currently being used for pasture and the landowner has visited the site, it said.

The leak was detected by staff monitoring pipeline pressure within a few hours of when it began and appears to have come from a connection where a feeder pipeline leaves an oil-testing facility, said Cor4 CEO Colin Davies.

The volume of the spill is estimated by the company to be between 100,000 and 200,000 litres, down from its initial estimate of 250,000 litres.

“The line has been isolated and shut in,” said AER spokeswoman Tracie Kenyon in an email. “Cleanup is underway. Vacuum trucks are on site collecting the released product, and the company is removing impacted soil.”

Cor4 was created in November to take over oil and gas assets owned by Imaginea Energy after its CEO, Suzanne West, parted ways with her financial backer, Lime Rock Partners of Houston.

West said at the time she welcomed the change because her company would be free to focus on creating a new industry of “clean hydrocarbons” with zero emissions, pollution or use of fresh water.

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