Calgary-based energy giant Husky announced on Wednesday it has entered guilty pleas on federal and provincial charges related to a 2016 oil spill in Saskatchewan and will pay fines totalling $3.82 million.
It said in a news release that its subsidiary Husky Oil Operations Ltd. was fined $2.5 million under the federal Fisheries Act and $200,000 for a violation of the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.
It was fined $800,000 under the Saskatchewan Environmental Management and Protection Act and assessed a 40 per cent victim impact surcharge of $320,000, it added.
“From the outset of this event, we accepted full responsibility for the spill and we restated that today,” said CEO Rob Peabody. “We recognize this event had significant impacts on the cities, towns and Indigenous communities along the river. We appreciate the way they worked with us on the cleanup and their patience and understanding in the months following the spill.
“We understand that some people think we could have done better. After having such a long and successful history in this region, the event three years ago was a disappointment for all of us. It has been our goal to show through our actions that we learned from this event and are committed to being a good neighbour and partner.”
The company said a leak was discovered July 21, 2016, on a pipeline crossing the North Saskatchewan River near Lloydminster. It said the pipeline was isolated at the river crossing and spill response crews were dispatched and about 225 cubic metres (225,000 litres) of crude blended with condensate was released, with about 60 per cent of the volume contained on land.
“The cause was determined to be ground movement over time,” explained Husky. “More than one million hours were worked on the cleanup response, involving about 2,600 personnel. At peak, more than 900 people were working simultaneously on the response.
“Husky has used the lessons learned from this incident to improve its pipeline operations. These improvements include an updated leak response protocol, regular geotechnical reviews of pipelines and fibre optic sensing technology installed on all new large diameter and higher consequence projects.”