Oil sands producer settles lawsuit by buying four farms


Oil sands producer settles lawsuit by buying four farms

Image: Screenshot from Baytex corporate video.

Canadian firm Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX, NYSE: BTE) has resolved a lawsuit brought by a Peace River extended family by buying the four farms they claimed they had to flee because of emissions from its heavy oil works.

They’ve been put in a position where they can start afresh,” the lawyer for the four families, Keith Wilson, told Canadian Press. “That chapter’s now closed.”

Years of complaints from residents about odours and emissions from northwestern Alberta operations led to the province's Energy Regulator hosting its first public hearings on the issue last winter.

In April, the AER panel issued a report that said the emissions were likely causing health problems and should as much as possible be eliminated. Baytex and four other companies extract oil from bitumen in the area by heating above-ground tanks, a process linked with greater risk of odour-causing emissions.

A month later the authority asked companies in certain areas near Peace River to take steps to eliminate gas venting, reduce flaring and conserve all produced gas by Aug. 15.

The body says that despite the positive results it continues to monitor emissions in the area and that those companies that have been found not complying with Directive 060 have until Oct. 31 to do so.