January 8, 2007

Shell directed to conduct emergency preparedness, response exercises following gas releases

CALGARY, ALTA-The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) has issued Shell Canada a number of directives following the agency's investigation of two separate incidents at Shell's Scotford upgrader, near Fort Saskatchewan, this past September. On September 7, a quantity of high-pressure hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas was released from a sulfur recovery unit at the upgrader during maintenance; the gas then ignited. No Shell employees or members of the public were injured as a result of the incident. Five days later, on September 12, a release of gas containing small quantities of H2S and sulfur dioxide (SO2), occurred within the Scotford heavy oil upgrader. The release occurred in a residue hydro conversion unit that was subsequently taken out of service. As with the first incident, there were no injuries. As a result of its investigation of these incidents, the EUB has directed Shell to schedule an exercise to test a new automated call-out system and to report the results of the test to the EUB. The company has also been directed to conduct an emergency response plan exercise and provide the appropriate 30-day notification to the EUB when scheduled. Finally, Shell must provide a report to the EUB when updated resident information for 2007 is completed, to ensure that all members of the public are fully informed of the process of how to shelter during an incident.

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