Husky Energy has released its final report into the cause of this summer’s massive oil spill that saw more than 225,000 litres of oil and solvent slip into the North Saskatchewan River.
The company’s report concludes the pipe broke as a result of movement in the ground, describing what happened as a sudden, one-time event.
The findings come after the pipe was taken away for testing in August.
The report also said the break was not the result of any material defect, corrosion, or deficiency in the pipe itself.
Despite facing criticism for a 14-hour delay between the start of the spill and the first official response, Husky’s report concludes “the operators responded appropriately to the data being observed and took proper steps to investigate.”
The report states that the pipeline was installed in 1997 and at the time, a third-party assessment concluded the area was not geotechnically active.
Husky said they will take several steps to ensure the spill does not repeat itself, including regular re-assessment of geotechnical risks and reviewing leak detection practices and procedures.
A specific time period will be allowed for diagnostic analysis before a pipeline must be shut down and their leak detection systems are being adjusted to reduce false alarms.
Minister of Environment Dustin Duncan said the report doesn’t signal the end of the investigation for them.
“It’s an important part, but we will continue to do our own investigation,” he said.
Duncan said he expects a report from the province will be complete by early next year.
“The conclusion that is drawn in the report, in terms of ground movement causing the breach, is consistent with ministry officials that are part of the investigation.”
The provincial NDP renewed its stance on having companies do their own pipeline inspections.
“The spill showed how devastating an incident like that can be to the water that many families drink and use in everyday life, but it also showed what little work is being done by the Sask. Party government to make pipeline safety a priority. The government only conducted 78 pipeline inspections last year, while the government of Alberta conducted more than 2,000. That will have to change moving forward,” NDP Environment Critic Cathy Sproule said in a statement.
-with files from paNOW