Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Farmer to be paid for oily water leak

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RED DEER, Alta. -- An Alberta energy company plans to fully compensate the farmer who owns a canola field where thousands of litres of oily water leaked earlier this week.

The spill was discovered Tuesday about 10 kilometres east of Red Deer on a line belonging to Penn West Exploration (TSX:PWT).

The Calgary-based company estimates up to 300,000 litres of liquid pooled up from a leak in an injection line.

The spill is mostly produced water -- an industry term for the water that travels up well heads along with oil. It can contain high levels of salt.

Penn West spokesman Greg Moffatt said Thursday initial tests show the fluid is almost 99 per cent produced water with low levels of salt and about one per cent oil.

"It's more of a water spill than an oil spill," he said. "Not to downplay the impact on the soil in the field, but it is a very, very low chloride water, so the impact should be minimal."

Darin Barter, of Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board, said he can't confirm the size of the spill until the agency's investigation is complete.

But licensing documents show the line was carrying produced water containing three per cent oil.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 24, 2012 B10

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