Canadian Consulting Engineer

Oilsands construction deaths prompt professional engineering body to issue statement

After two workers were killed and two large tank structures collapsed at the Horizon oilsands project under constru...

June 14, 2007   Canadian Consulting Engineer

After two workers were killed and two large tank structures collapsed at the Horizon oilsands project under construction in Alberta, the licensing body for engineers has issued a statement. <br>
The statement, issued May 17, by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) says in part: “The paramount concern of APEGGA, and of all professional engineers, is public safety and wellbeing. While APEGGA has not received any complaints regarding the design and construction methods of the oil storage tanks, the association is monitoring the situation to determine if there is any evidence of unskilled practice or unprofessional conduct on the part of any professional member or permit holding organization.”<br>
The death of the two workers at the Canadian Natural Resources Horizon project site north of Fort Murray occurred when a tank collapsed at the end of April. Four other workers were injured as well on that occasion. Then three weeks later, on May 14, another tank collapsed in the same tank farm. A stop work order on the tanks was in place by the time of the second collapse, so no-one was injured.<br>
The Horizon project, owned by Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) and located north of Fort Murray, is 65 per cent complete. It currently employs about 4,500 workers on site. Those who died in the accident were apparently workers from China.<br>
Horizon will be Canada’s fourth major open-pit oilsands megaproject when it comes onstream in late 2008. The company warned investors that Horizon’s $6.8-billion price tag could jump by as much as 12 per cent due to inflationary costs and production delays. <br>


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