Imperial Oil continues to investigate the pipeline spill in the Northwest Territories

Imperial Oil Ltd. says it is still investigating the cause and effects of a pipeline spill in the Northwest Territories that has some residents downstream concerned about the potential impact.

The Calgary-based oil and gas company reported July 27 that it had discovered about 55,000 liters of produced water had been spilled before shutting down the pipeline in Norman Wells, NWT

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Produced water is treated water that is pumped back to the surface during oil extraction and reused in operations, the company said.

According to Transport Canada, the by-product of oil and gas exploration is generally high in salt and may be contaminated with other substances.

Imperial said his investigation into the spill included hiring a biologist to conduct a bird nest survey, as well as finding buried pipe flanges and pressure testing them with fresh water.

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The company is trying to determine if the water produced entered the Mackenzie River. Water quality monitoring shows there is no risk to public health or wildlife.

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However, downriver at Fort Good Hope, some residents took a precautionary measure of removing their fishing nets from the river after observing a glow on the water.

“It’s that time of year when people cast their nets for fish, which is affecting our traditional economy right now,” said Edwin Erutse, president of Yamoga Land Corporation.

Erutse said he received an update from Imperial and hopes to meet with the company to discuss the issue further. He said if spills were to occur in the future, communities downstream should be consulted and informed ahead of time so they can respond appropriately.

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Responding to concerns about a shine on the water, Keri Scobie, a spokeswoman for Imperial, said oil spills on the Mackenzie River can occur naturally.

“It’s a well-known natural phenomenon among the region’s indigenous communities, and it was here that Imperial oil was discovered nearly 100 years ago,” she wrote in a statement.

Canada’s energy regulator said it followed up on Imperial to ensure people and the environment are protected. The regulator plans to complete an environmental inspection this month.

© 2022 The Canadian Press Imperial Oil continues to investigate the pipeline spill in the Northwest Territories


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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