EDMONTON, Alberta – In an oil and gas industry twist that can only be described as shocking, PNRL (People Nobody Really Like) is suing the Province of Alberta and the AER for the loss of oil caused by leaky overburden in the Peabody area of Alberta.
The statement of claim also includes punitive and monetary damages for defamation of character against the AER and the Pembina Cardium Institute for their allegations that PNRL caused an oil spill, when according to the head of PNRL’s legal council, PNRL did not spill any oil.
The Webster’s dictionary defines spill as, “to cause or allow (liquid) to flow over the edge of its container, esp. unintentionally.” According to that definition, the oil that seeped out of the ground in the Peabody field did not spill over the edge of any “container.” We claim that the oil seeped to the surface due to roughly 100m of leaky overburden in the area, and we expect to be compensated for the lost oil.
So technically, we are not responsible for an oil spill, even though that is what the regulatory and environmental groups are claiming we have done. – Leroy Jackson, lead legal council with PRNL
Before PRNL’s legal team decided to pursue litigation with the aforementioned approach, the Calgary-based oil major attempted to mitigate the effect of the leaky overburden by sending out teams of Reservoir Engineers on 3 around-the-clock shifts to fix the reservoir. The engineers were equipped with full PPE gear, caulking guns, and shoe goo. The teams fruitlessly attempted to patch the leaks in the ground, because it turns out that the pressure in the system was still too great to contain the leaks.
We have a call into the guys at 3M to see if there is an adhesive that will bond through bitumen, but they are not optimistic. We’ll try, but right now it does not look like sealing the surface will be an option. – Gracie Willabee, Senior Environmental Chief on the project.
Neighboring PNG operator Bendovus has not seen the bitumen debacle to be anything but a boon for its thermal plays next door in the Blooper field west of Peabody. Bendovus has implemented a 4-part plan to increase steam injection 10-fold over the next 6 months to attempt to recreate the Peabody seepage. Reports indicate that Bendovus sees the opportunity to surface ‘scrape’ bitumen for processing is far easier than open pit oil sands mining.
The company also plans to patent the technology and claim that it invented it, because as many of our readers may have seen while waiting for your movie to start at the cinema, Bendovus is indeed the champion of the oil sands.
Alongside the possible future development of BS&S (Bitumen Seep & Scrape), there exists another pilot in the works that may be of benefit, if seepage can be created in the right locales. A concept put into action recently to float oil and bitumen down the Athabasca River towards processing facilities south of our borders may work perfectly with surface seeped recovery.
This will work only if the seeps can be created close enough to, or within the river basin itself, which would eliminate the need for costly tie-ins or trucking of the recovered product.
The Province of Alberta, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Pembina Cardium Institute, and PRNL have their first court date set for October 17th, 2013.