PRINCE ALBERT, S.K. – The company behind the 2016 oil spill that fouled the North Saskatchewan River and threatened the water supply of Prince Albert and other communities wants to build new pipelines to replace the structure that leaked.
Husky Energy held an open house Wednesday in Prince Albert to discuss its proposal.
Calgary-based Husky says its plan calls for the construction of two new pipelines to transport blended crude and condensate to Lloydminster from across the river.
The pipelines would be located in the rural municipalities of Britannia, Eldon and Frenchman Butte.
Travis Davies, a Husky Energy spokesman, says the new line would be bored in higher from the shore at the hilltops on each side to minimize the risk of ground shifting.
He says Husky has also improved its operating procedures to ensure problems are reported quickly.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re here,” Davies said. “We’re obviously quite a way downstream, but we are looking back to the impact we caused on the city at that point, and we want to talk about the things we’re doing differently.”
The Husky spill caused more than 225,000 litres of diluted heavy oil to leak. About 40 per cent of the oil went into the river near Maidstone.
The company was later charged with violating provincial and federal environmental laws and paid $5 million to the City of Prince Albert for their costs related to the spill. Court proceedings in the case are still ongoing.
Husky has since apologized and said it accepts full responsibility for the spill.
The pipeline was allowed to restart in October after being repaired and inspected.
Davies said Husky learned a lot during the oil spill, and all of those lessons would be applied to future projects.
“This is a much better project for a lot of reasons, better design, better steel, thicker steel, better technology, better management system (and) the sooner we can get this pipeline through, the sooner we can get off the other one.”
More public consultation is planned on the project, but Davies said Husky hopes to start construction of the new pipeline in the fall.
Once construction gets underway, the project should take 10 to 12 months to complete.
Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne attended the open house and said the city supports the project.
“It’s still the safer way, in my opinion, to do it and the biggest thing is that we’re dealing with the right company,” Dionne said. “We had an incident, as everyone knew. Why did we get through it? It’s just the positive way they responded.”
Husky has another open house planned Thursday night in North Battleford.