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Design issues led to Nexen Long Lake spill

Nexen Energy has revealed design flaws led to a pipeline rupture that caused 5 million litres of emulsion to leak in July 2015.

Senior vice president of Canadian operations Ron Bailey says an incompatible pipeline design was used, which was worsened by buckling from thermal upheavals and cooling down during turnaround. Bailey explains there were issues with contractors and subcontractors during the design and installation of the pipleline, and Nexen will more thoroughly vet proposals in the future.

The rupture happened on June 11th, but failures in the detection system meant the spill wasn’t discovered until July 15th. It ended up being one of the worst in Canadian history, one kilometre from Nexen’s Long Lake facility.

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