Are Pipelines a Viable and Mess-free Means of Oil Transportation?

by KYauChung on September 24, 2015 - 6:15pm

                 This article is a follow-up from the suspension ordered by the AER on Nexen Energy’s pipelines operations on Aug 25, 2015. The author, while remaining neutral, seeks to inform that after the discovery of a large spill by the AER, 15 of Nexen Energy’s pipeline licenses have been suspended. He also offers insight into the reasons they were shut down and the conditions of the suspension removal.

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) initially suspended the operations due to “a number of non-compliances, primarily related to documentation of maintenance activities.” regarding the maintenance and monitoring of the pipelines. Moreover, Tucker specifies that, in July, there was a spill of “A spill of about five million litres of bitumen, sand and produced water ” near Nexen’s Long Lake oilsands facility for which Nexen Energy received a letter indicating noncompliance. Before long, 95 pipelines were suspended.

The transformation of oil sands increases the vulnerability of public safety, the environment and the companies’ employees. The transportation itself is a very fragile and complex process that requires constant regulation and proper monitoring. Not only is the arduous task of cleaning the bitumen spill needed but also immediate fencing of the area to prevent wild animals from approaching the area.

The AER finishes affirming that the enforcement action is to be determined until the end of the investigation and that enforcement could range from administrative penalties to prosecution.

I find it more profitable and safe to focus on newer and cleaner sources of energy that won’t require the transportation of messy contaminants, like petroleum or the production of nuclear waste. The money spent to extract the petroleum from the bitumen could be spent to develop greener sources of energy. This first investment will most likely develop our dying economy by luring interested countries when petroleum becomes even scarcer. Quebec is partly powered by hydraulic energy; we have the upper hand when it comes to renewable energy. We could profit from this advantage or spend more on non-renewable sources of energy that have no future. 

Tucker, Erika. (2015). Nexen responds to regulator’s order to suspend operations at 95 Alberta pipelines. Global News. Retrieved from