Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

At Least One Injured in Canada's Syncrude Oil Plant Blaze

Melanie Antoine Syncrude responds to fire at northern Alberta oilsands site
Tracy Craig | 16 March, 2017, 00:45

A fire at Syncrude Canada's Mildred Lake facility was caused by a line failure that allowed a liquid hydrocarbon to leak.

There's no confirmation on how many people were working at the site when the fire broke out. Occupational Health and Safety will also be investigating but, as of Wednesday evening, were unable to access the site as the fire had yet to be extinguished.

Gibson said the fire is still burning but emergency responders are managing it as a controlled burn to burn off residual hydrocarbons. The substance is a partially refined, oil-based thinning agent used in blending gasoline.

An oilsands upgrader northwest of Fort McMurray shut down on Tuesday following a fire and explosion.

Syncrude Canada says a blaze at the Mildred Lake Upgrader is now isolated and under control.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said it has dispatched staff to the scene.

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"The safety of the people at the site is Syncrude's top priority right now", said Gibson. "Once it is safe to proceed, Syncrude will conduct a damage assessments and repairs".

Before Tuesday's fire Syncrude had a turnaround scheduled to start in late April and last until June.

However, a precautionary air quality advisory warns air quality could fluctuate in the area.

Because of smoke and low levels of Sulphur Dioxide, some people could experience health problems. The facility is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the oil sands hub of Fort McMurray.

Nearby Fort McKay First Nation urged residents to remain indoors and keep their windows and doors closed due to prevailing winds. Anyone with chronic lung conditions was warned to have sufficient medication for at least two days.

In 2015, an explosion at Syncrude's Mildred Lake operation halted operations, but the resulting fire caused no injuries or fatalities. No one was injured in that incident.

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