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Employees relocated after ‘hydrocarbon release’ at Scotford upgrader outside Edmonton

Emergency crews were called to respond to a hydrocarbon release at a Shell Canada’s Scotford upgrader facility northeast of Fort Saskatchewan on Wednesday afternoon. Craig Ryan/ Global News

Emergency crews were called to respond to a hydrocarbon release at a Shell Canada facility northeast of Fort Saskatchewan on Wednesday afternoon.

The company said the incident unfolded at its Scotford upgrader facility which processes crude bitumen. Late Wednesday afternoon, Shell confirmed an alarm was sounded and personnel were “relocated away from the incident as a safety precaution.”

“Shell has notified neighbouring residents and businesses of the incident, however, residents and businesses are not asked to take any action at this time,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Shell Scotsford’s external relations manager said the alarm was sounded at 12:45 p.m. and employees were given the all-clear at 6:45 p.m. after it was established the situation was “under control.”

“There was one minor injury associated with the incident,” Stephen Velthuizen said, adding, “safety is our first priority.”

“Obviously you don’t want to release any hydrocarbons, but in the case that you do have a hydrocarbon release, you just want to move people out of harm’s way so they don’t come in contact with that substance,” Velthuizen said. “We’re going to look at this and figure out exactly what happened so that we can prevent future occurrences.”

Along with emergency crews from Strathcona County, Shell personnel also responded and road blocks were set up at the upgrader site entrances as well as on Township Road 560A at Range Road 214 and at Township Road 554 and Range Road 220.

Shell said the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) was notified.

“AER staff are on site and are working with the company to ensure all safety and environmental requirements are met during the response to the incident,” the AER said in an email to Global News on Wednesday night. “There are no reported impacts to the public or wildlife at this time. The volume of the release is also unknown at this point.”

Late Wednesday night, Shell Canada issued a news release in which the company described the leak as a “heavy oil hydrocarbon release.”

“Shell emergency services established a safety perimeter around the impacted area to safely manage the incident and protect employees and contractors,” the statement said. “Air monitoring is ongoing and shows no off-site impact.”

Shell Canada also said it told neighbouring businesses and residents that the situation had been resolved.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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