TMXmoneyTMXmoney - invest with insight

CNRL gets go-ahead to use low-pressure steam at troubled oilsands site

The Canadian Press

CALGARY - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) has been given the go-ahead to resume work at part of an oilsands project in eastern Alberta where a bitumen-water mixture was found oozing to the surface last year.

But CNRL will be using a different extraction technique that a company executive has said would make further leaks impossible in Area 1 of its Primrose East property.

Last month, CNRL asked the Alberta Energy Regulator for permission to use low-pressure steamflooding at Primrose East rather than high-pressure cyclic steam stimulation.

The AER says the modified technique will see steam injected underground at pressures less than half of what they would have been using the previous method.

The provincial energy watchdog says it's satisfied the new approach will lower the risk of more leaks, either from increased flow at the existing site, or from new ones.

Increased monitoring and other steaming restrictions imposed by the AER last summer remain in place and an investigation into what went wrong at Primrose is ongoing.