Alberta responds to Cold Lake oil seeps

Sept. 25, 2013 at 9:26 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Provincial officials have called on Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to stem the environmental impact from a heavy oil seep in Alberta.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reported in May oil was seeping to the surface at locations near the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Alberta.

More than 7,000 barrels of oil sands have been removed from four sites. Some of the oil has migrated to a nearby lake where heavy oil is sinking to the bottom.

The provincial government announced Tuesday it issued an environmental protection order to the company. It calls for the removal of water from the site of one of the leaks before the water freezes for the winter.

"The order requires the temporary dewatering of approximately two-thirds of the 53 hectare waterbody, just prior to freeze-up," the government said in a statement. "A large portion of the removed water will be stored in the remaining one-third of the waterbody, so water levels can be restored in the spring of 2014."

The company said well failure may have led to the incident. The company was using a steam-injection system to pressurize and warm oil for extraction. Alberta energy regulators ordered the company to stop using the process to control the seepage.

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