January 14, 2014 / 3:41 PM / 4 years ago

CORRECTED-Canadian Natural Resources July '13 oil sands field leak continues

(Company clarified president’s comments referred to a leak starting in July 2013, not Jan. 3 2014.)

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - A leak at Canadian Natural Resources’ Primrose field in the Alberta oil sands continues to seep bitumen crude six months after it started, the head of the company said on Monday.

The Alberta Energy Regulator has been investigating the cause of leaking bitumen crude at the CNR-operated field since July. About 1 million litres of heavy bitumen crude have spilled from the Primrose field since then.

“There is a low rate of seepage,” Steve Laut, president of CNR, told Reuters on the sidelines of the TD Securities’ London Energy Conference on Monday.

“The seepage was caused by a wellbore failure. The investigation is well under way and the solution is well defined. We’re working to make sure these things don’t happen again.”

Laut said the field was seeping at about “one cubic metre squared per day” but that the company expected to be able to halt the leak shortly.

The seepage is not expected to have a sustained impact on production, Laut said.

The Primrose field was hit by a second incident at the start of this year, when 27,000 litres of bitumen were accidentally released underground. That release has since been stopped.

Presenting at the conference, Laut said the company expects to increase its production by around 9 percent in 2014 to 711,000-757,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. About 75 percent of the firm’s production is oil. (Reporting by David Sheppard; editing by Jason Neely)

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