Environmental protection order for leaking Primrose oil sands project

Primrose oil sands

The Alberta government has served the Primrose oil sands project with an environmental protection order, the province announced on Tuesday.

Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ), owner of the development, must drain a bitumen-affected water-body before it freezes.

The oil sands miner must also put in place permanent containment measures and undertake clean-up activities by spring 2014 so that the water can be restored.

This summer the company reported bitumen surfacing under an area of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. Three additional bitumen emulsions were reported later – they are not affected by Tuesday's order.

By the end of July, the Primrose site was leaking under 20 barrels per day. According to the Alberta Energy Regulator website, more than one million litres of bitumen have leaked from the Cold Lake site so far.

The Regulator also noted that the leak had killed two beavers, 49 birds and more than one hundred smaller animals.

Canadian Natural Resources lost over half a percentage point on the New York exchange on Tuesday and is trading at $31.20 per share.