Syncrude is complying with an Environmental Protection Order issued by the Alberta Energy Regulator after the discovery of dead blue herons at its Mildred Lake site.
The order requires Syncrude to take specific steps in responding to this incident, including taking soil and water samples and implementing a wildlife mitigation plan to help ensure no more wildlife enter the vicinity. Syncrude will also issue daily updates to report on its progress on its website.
“We will continue to work with the Alberta Energy Regulator and Environment Canada to find out what happened,” said Syncrude President and CEO Mark Ward. “We are saddened by the deaths of these birds. Our focus is now on discovering the cause so we can address it and prevent a future incident.”
Ahead of the order being issued, Syncrude took steps to deter wildlife from the area, an inactive sump located in the southwest corner of the Mildred Lake site. Syncrude workers immediately placed wildlife deterrent measures, which now include:
- Erecting wildlife fencing
- Stationing field personnel at the fence line to actively monitor the area with 24-hour coverage
- Placing six propane-powered cannons around the area and rotating the location of those cannons on a regular basis
- Placing six effigies on the sump
- Installing an active robotic falcon
In addition to cooperating with the regulators, Syncrude is also conducting its own investigation to determine what occurred and establish measures to help prevent a similar incident in the future. “I want to assure Canadians we will take the time necessary to conduct a very thorough investigation,” said Ward. “Our organization and our employees are completely committed to finding out what happened and addressing it.”
Syncrude operates the Syncrude Project, a Joint Venture undertaking among Canadian Oil Sands Limited, Imperial Oil Resources, Mocal Energy Limited, Murphy Oil Company Ltd., Nexen Oil Sands Partnership, Sinopec Oil Sands Partnership and Suncor Energy Ventures Partnership.