Court orders oil spill documents sealed to investigators

By Bryan Eneas
January 22, 2018 - 5:00pm

A judge has decided numerous documents pertaining to the Husky Energy oil spill in 2016, which affected multiple communities along the North Saskatchewan River, will remain sealed to Environment Canada investigators.

A search warrant was executed in March of 2017 where over 25,000 electronic records were handed over to investigators. Husky Energy asserted privilege over 580 documents and turned them over in sealed packages; further review found duplications and overlap and reduced the documents down to 96.

Federal courts found Husky Energy had grounds to claim either litigation privilege or solicitor-client privilege on 93 of those documents.

The 93 documents were classified into four categories according to the decision: investigation records and charters guiding the investigation, miscellaneous records from the internal investigation and expert reports.

Three documents, including one described as “Husky Leak Alarm Detailed History” for July 20 and 21, 2016 were released to the Crown.

Judge J.D. Kalmakoff was unable to conclude preparation for litigation protected Husky Energy from releasing information within the leak alarm detailed history. Husky’s internal procedures and policies require the company to print off all pertinent data if a line break is suspected.

“That means the data contained in this document was generated before litigation involving Husky as a prospect,” the judge’s decision reads. “Information in this document was clearly ‘created’ before there was any prospect of litigation.”

Seven “expert reports” were not turned over to the Crown. Husky’s legal counsel argued all of the reports and companies were approached for the purpose of preparing for litigation.

A report issued by the Norwegian based risk management company DNV-GL called “Saskatchewan Gathering System Leak Investigation Timeline,” along with a “Post Spill Review and Assessment Report,” authored by Jared Bladon from Schneider Electric-Telvent were not turned over. Two reports, a leak detection gap assessment of compliance, and a leak detection gap analysis, authored by Don Scott, from Précis-EC will remain sealed.

A Rosen Canada report called “Summary of 2013 and 2015 In Line Inspection Findings” and “Summary of In Line Inspection Findings 2007 – 2013” will also remained sealed.

 

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