Husky Energy says response to Saskatchewan oil spill cost $90 million

CALGARY – Husky Energy says it has spent about $90 million responding to a pipeline spill in July that sent some 225,000 litres of heavy oil and diluent into the North Saskatchewan River.

The Calgary-based company said Thursday that it believes the amount spent up to Sept. 30, when its most recent quarter ended, represents the cost of the incident, but that could be revised.

The company wrapped up shoreline cleanup efforts earlier this month after recovering about 210,000 litres.

Investigations into the cause of the incident, and the overall impact, are still ongoing, with Husky (TSX:HSE) asking last week for a 30-day extension to file a detailed report on the spill.

Husky now has until Nov. 21 to report on further details of the spill, including a metallurgic review of the failed pipe and a geotechnical report on the land where the failure occurred.

The spill, affecting an area of about 41,500 square metres, forced the Saskatchewan cities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort to shut off their water intakes from the river and find other water sources for almost two months.

The company said it expects to recover the associated costs, which have been incurred by Husky Midstream Limited Partnership. Husky is the operator and also holds a 35 per cent interest in the partnership.

Earlier this year, Husky sold off the other 65 per cent ownership of the pipeline network involved in the spill, along with other midstream assets, for an after-tax gain of $1.3 billion in its latest results.

The asset sale helped bring a $1.4-billion profit for the third quarter, or $1.37 per share, which contrasted with a year-earlier loss of $196 million, or 20 cents per share.

The Calgary-based company also recorded a $167-million after-tax gain from the disposition of some Western Canada production assets.

After adjustments, Husky had a $100 million loss, above the year-earlier adjusted loss of $91 million.

Husky also announced that Asim Ghosh will retire as president and CEO on Dec. 5 after seven years as the company’s top executive. His successor will be Rob Peabody, Husky’s chief operating officer since 2006.

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