At approximately 10 a.m. on Monday, January 7, 2013 there was a leak at Cenovus's Foster Creek oil sands plant, located about 330 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. The leak occurred in a pressurized pipe within the primary oil treatment area of the plant, releasing a mixture of oil and water across an area approximately 30 metres by 160 metres. Within minutes we began shutting down the flow to the plant to relieve pressure on the pipe. It's estimated that about 100 cubic metres of the oil and water mixture were released. The mixture was approximately 70 percent water and 30 percent oil. No one was injured and the leak was completely contained within a small area of Cenovus's property. At no time was there any risk to the general public. The plant was restarted later the same day.

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) were notified immediately. The ERCB was on site and approved our clean-up plan. We take responsibility for the incident and have investigated the cause to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Updates:

  • - 90 percent of the oil and water mixture was cleaned up within three days of the leak

  • - By January 30, the clean-up was 95 percent complete

  • - We determined the leak was caused by extreme cold that led the pipe to freeze and split open

  • - We’ve replaced the damaged section of pipe, installed additional insulation in the area and increased the temperature settings on the pipe’s heat tracing system, which is designed to keep it from freezing

  • - The remaining five percent of the oil and water mixture is on our equipment and will be removed in the spring when warmer temperatures will make the clean-up easier


Foster Creek oil and water leak on January 7, 2013 Foster Creek oil and water leak on January 10, 2013 This photo taken January 30 shows that about 95 percent of the clean-up is now complete. The oil and water mixture remaining from the spill is only on our equipment. Due to cold winter weather, we will wait until spring to finish the clean-up.
On January 7, 2013 an approximately 30 metre by 160 metre area inside our Foster Creek plant was affected by an oil and water mixture leak. By January 10, the oil and water mixture that leaked onto this service road at the plant had been removed and the clean-up was about 90 percent complete. The leak was fully contained within the plant site. This photo taken January 30 shows that about 95 percent of the clean-up is now complete. The remaining five percent of the oil and water mixture is on our equipment and will be removed in the spring when warmer temperatures will make the clean-up easier.

Foster Creek

Foster Creek

Foster Creek is one of our two industry-leading oil sands projects. It's our largest project, considered among the best commercial and technical steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects in the industry. It's situated on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, about 330 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. We started a pilot project at Foster Creek in 1996 and commercial production began in 2001. The oil at Foster Creek is located about 450 metres below the surface and requires specialized technology, like SAGD, to drill and pump it to the surface. This project is 50 percent owned by ConocoPhillips.

Our growth plans

There are five phases currently producing at Foster Creek, with three more under construction. A public consultation process is under way for our phase J expansion. Ultimately, Cenovus expects Foster Creek may have the capacity to produce 295,000 gross barrels per day by 2019 and as much as 310,000 gross barrels per day with future optimization.

Did you know?

In 2010 Foster Creek achieved a significant milestone in becoming the largest commercial SAGD project in Alberta to reach royalty payout status. For a project to reach payout its cumulative revenues exceed cumulative allowable costs. It's a sign of success.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Cenovus presents production volumes on a net to Cenovus before royalties basis, unless otherwise stated.