Alberta oil seep under review

Aug. 1, 2013 at 10:51 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The Canadian oil company tied to the slow release of oil sands from a remote area in Alberta said it would conduct a closer review of potential site problems.

Oil is seeping to the surface at a slow rate from four sites at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Alberta. It started as the release of more than 6,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil in May and the incident is ongoing at a site operated by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Company President Steve Laut told Bloomberg News in a phone interview the company would review operational practices in the wake of the accident.

"What we're going to do is go back and look at the wells in the vicinity of these leakages," he said in an interview published Wednesday. "If we see any imperfections we are going to go back and try to remediate those wells. And if we can't, then when we do steam through those areas, we are going to change our steaming practices to ensure we prevent these kinds of events."

The company used a steam-injection process to heat oil sands to make it easier to move to the surface. An Alberta energy regulator, in an effort to control the seeps, ordered the company to stop using the process.

Canadian Natural Resources said this week it believed mechanical failures led to the incident. It said the seepage was confined to the immediate site and the release from all four areas is less than 20 barrels per day.

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