Oil Sands: Canada’s biggest oil project, now in jeopardy
Oil Sands, Canada’s largest oil project has faced a $1.5 billion lawsuit and is facing another lawsuit from the Alberta government that accuses the company of failing to properly protect its oil sands assets.
The company is suing the province over an alleged violation of the Oil Sands Development Act.
In a court filing last week, the province’s top lawyer, the Honourable Bob Black, said the oil sands have been developed in a manner that the province believes will result in a “significant adverse environmental impact.”
The Alberta government has been investigating the company since 2013, when it was awarded a licence for oil sands development.
A number of environmental groups have accused the province of ignoring the risks of oil sands drilling and mining in the area.
“The oil sands are located in the heart of a region where the oilsands industry is booming, where Alberta is one of the world’s most energy-efficient economies and where hundreds of thousands of Albertans are working to build their own energy independence,” Black wrote in the filing.
“It is therefore unacceptable that the oil and gas industry has continued to engage in its longstanding practice of delaying the permitting process, which has been used by all parties in this litigation to delay the development of oil and natural gas in this region.”
The suit alleges that in 2014, the company failed to properly consult the province about the risks to the oil, and that the decision to proceed was made without a proper assessment of the risks.
In its suit, the Alberta Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment alleges the oil companies have violated the Oil Sands Development Act, which prohibits the company from “destroying, impairing or interfering with the oil or gas industry.”
The oil and oil sands were developed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the world leader in the oil industry, to provide a source of high-quality crude oil for the domestic oil and energy sector.CAPP said in a statement last week that it is “committed to upholding environmental, economic and social values for our communities, and working to improve the health and wellbeing of Albertan communities by promoting sustainable energy, sustainable jobs and a more prosperous future.”
“The oilsands are the backbone of the Alberta economy and it is important that they continue to thrive as we build our economy, but our priority is to ensure that the interests of our residents are protected,” said spokesperson Ryan McLeod.
“As a result of this litigation, we cannot comment further.”