Pipeline leak dumps oil in Alberta muskeg

A pipeline spill in northernwestern Alberta has dumped 22,000 barrels of oil and salt water in the muskeg outside the community of Rainbow Lake. The pipeline carries roughly 70 per cent water and 30 per cent oil, the Globe and Mail reports.

The line is owned by Calgary-based Pace Oil and Gas. The Energy Resources Conservation Board told the Canadian Press Thursday that the Pace well has been shut off, and that crews are on the ground to contain and clean up the spill.

The leak was reportedly spotted May 19 from a passing aircraft. It now covers 4.3 hectares.

From the Globe:

The company is now setting up a 50-person camp near the spill site, and has hired contract workers to clean it up. By Monday, it had recovered some 3,700 barrels of emulsion. It’s unclear how long it will take to clean up. Alberta’s Environmental Resources Conservation Board is investigating the spill.

It is just the latest of several large pipeline spills for an industry pushing to break ground on future projects to carry oil through the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean. Last year, an Enbridge pipeline leak spilled about 19,500 barrels of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River.

A week earlier, a pipe operated by Plains All American Pipeline burst and dumped 28,000 barrels of oil near a small Cree community in northern Alberta. It was billed as the largest spill in nearly 36 years.