Nexen Energy allowed to reopen 10 more pipelines, regulator says

Ten more production pipelines at Nexen Energy's Long Lake oilsands operation have been approved to resume operations, says the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The AER said in a statement it had inspected the site, reviewed documentation and the company's actions. The regulator is satisfied the lines pose a low risk to public safety or the environment.

The AER said it has amended the suspension order issued Aug. 28, 2015, that ordered the pipelines to be temporarily shut down.

Nexen has been ordered to make rigorous daily inspections and conduct additional tests and monitoring of the affected lines. Nexen is also required to provide the AER with regular updates on inspection results.

The 10 pipelines transport miscellaneous gases, including steam and vapour, oil emulsion and natural gas.

The AER ordered the company to shut down 95 pipelines at its Long Lake facility in late August, citing gaps in documentation to show how the lines were maintained and monitored.

Nexen temporarily shut down the facility.  In early September, the regulator allowed Nexen to reopen 40 of those pipelines, saying they were a low risk to the public.

Operations of 45  pipelines at Long Lake continue to be suspended. Those pipelines contain crude oil, natural gas, salt water, fresh water and emulsion. They will not return to service until Nexen can demonstrate the pipelines can be operated safely and within all requirements, the AER said.

AER said it will determine what enforcement action to take once the investigation is complete. Enforcement could range from administrative penalties to prosecution, the regulator said.