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CNRL fined for failing to follow Alberta's engineering standards in fatal 2007 tank roof collapse

CNRL fined for failing to follow Alberta's engineering standards in fatal 2007 tank roof collapse

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) has fined Canadian Natural Resources (CNRL) for unprofessional conduct related to a 2007 tank collapse at the Horizon Oil Sands facility that fatally injured two contract workers.

Chinese firm Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Canada (SSEC) was contracted to erect 14 tanks at the Horizon tank farm during its construction in 2006/2007.

SSEC was working on the Dilbit Dewatering Tank, designed to be 56.5 meters in diameter and almost 20 meters tall. The roof and sidewalls were being erected coincidentally when a gust of wind, estimated at 40 km/hr, caused the roof to collapse. There were 13 workers trapped in the tank at the time of the incident, 10 were Chinese, brought in under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.

A thorough investigation by Alberta Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) found several discrepancies in the procedures used to erect the tank and calculations used for suspending the roof. Alberta's building code specifies a maximum wind speed of 83 km/hr, which was not taken into account. The engineer who developed the erection procedure for the tank’s roof-support structure was not a Professional Engineer in the province of Alberta and deemed unqualified by OH&S. The contractors used to construct the tanks were not APEGA Permit Holders.

CNRL holds a valid Permit to Practice and is therefore bound by APEGA's Code of Ethics.

The company has been fined $10,000 (the maximum allowable under current legislation) and will assist APEGA in developing new standards for outsourcing engineering work, a very common practice in the oil sands.

APEGA initially investigated the incident in 2007 and ruled there was no evidence of unskilled practice or unprofessional conduct at the construction site. The case was reopened in February 2016, almost 9 years after the OH&S report was released.

University of Calgary extols the virtues of partial upgrading

University of Calgary extols the virtues of partial upgrading

Western Canada's propane market about to get a little less glutted

Western Canada's propane market about to get a little less glutted

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