Ian MacGregor stands at the centre of the growing disconnect between Canada’s booming oil production and its lack of refineries and upgraders.

As chairman of Calgary-based North West Upgrading (NWU), he’s overseeing construction of a $5-billion oil sands upgrader outside of Edmonton that will process 55,000 barrels of bitumen per day in partnership with Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) and the Alberta government, converting heavy crude into diesel fuel for the Canadian market.

Slated to come online in 2015, the project already employs 1,000, a number that is set to grow to 8,000 at the peak of construction -- which, as MacGregor sees it, is proof that more Canadian oil can and should be processed here.

“Our kids want to work in high-tech industries. They don’t want to work with their hands,” MacGregor said. “They want to have educationally and intellectually based jobs, and that’s what we produce when we refine this stuff.”

Getting into the petroleum processing business would seem a no-brainer considering Canadian crude oil production is expected to nearly double to as much as 4.7 million barrels per day by 2025. Moreover, TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries is still mired in controversy, oil sands producers offload Canadian crude to foreign refiners at a discount, and eastern provinces are importing more expensive Atlantic basin oil.

Yet as Canada’s oil production takes off, the refining industry has flatlined and projects like MacGregor’s are a rarity, which prompts one very vexing question: As Canada produces more oil than ever before, why aren’t we building more refineries and upgraders here?

PHOTOS: 10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT CANADA'S OIL INDUSTRY

Some say the explanation is primarily economic. To others, it’s a matter of politics. But either way, it’s clear that Canada hasn’t been a serious player in the refining game for some time. And because of the increasing complexity of the forces shaping the global oil industry -- and a lack of will on the part of government and industry to do so -- it has only become more challenging to enter that domain.

Over the past few decades, the refining industry has undergone a major restructuring in North America, with business increasingly concentrated in the hands of major oil companies, primarily south of the border.

Since the 1970s, the number of refineries in Canada has plummeted from 40 to 19, taking a big bite out of the direct refinery labour force, which dropped from 27,400 to 17,500 between 1989 and 2009. There hasn’t been a new refinery built in Canada since 1984, or in the U.S. since 1976. (The NWU project is not technically classed as a refinery because it is upgrading bitumen directly to diesel as opposed to producing light crude, but MacGregor and others consider it to be the first major ground-up refining project undertaken in Canada in 25 years.)

While expansions to existing facilities have enabled Canada’s overall refining capacity to increase, a recent Conference Board of Canada report observed that annual growth output has declined for the last five of six years. At the moment, more oil is refined here than is consumed. But while Canada currently imports 0.7 million barrels of crude oil per day, we only refine about 25 per cent of the oil produced here.

PHOTOS: THE OIL SANDS AND CANADA'S ENVIRONMENT

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the Energy Resources and Conservation Board estimates that the percentage of bitumen that will be upgraded to light oil in the province will drop to 47 per cent in 2020, down from 58 per cent in 2010. (Unlike more conventional “sweet crude,” which is not as easy to find as it used to be, oil sands crude must be upgraded and then further refined before going to market.)

According to most analysts, the financials have been -- and continue to be -- the most significant barrier to significantly expanding Canada’s refining capacity. Though the precise cost of a new facility is difficult to pinpoint, some put the initial capital outlay at more than $10 billion.

The refining business is also considered to be more risky than upstream oil production, because profitability is directly impacted by swings in global oil prices and demand for refined products such as gasoline. In recent years, toughening environmental standards and the increasing availability of oil sands bitumen (as opposed to sweet crude, which is no longer as easy to come by), has presented an added challenge, as processing heavier oil is more expensive.

But that hasn’t stopped companies south of the border, where facilities in several dedicated refining areas have undergone major infrastructure upgrades, a process that is still underway, with multi-billion-dollar projects currently in the works in Michigan and Illinois.

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According to Michal Moore, a professor at the University of Calgary’s Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, these upgrades have armed U.S. facilities with the necessary processing and pipeline infrastructure to essentially corner the market in North America.

“The time to make the decision [to build up Canada’s refining industry] was probably 20 years ago, maybe a little before that,” he said. “When you didn’t make that decision, you lost your ability to compete in that market. You couldn’t catch up.”

Moore and others say that the way the North American refinery market has evolved makes sense, because the domestic market for refined petroleum products is much bigger in the U.S. than in Canada.

“Widespread higher quality refining capacity in Canada -- except in very specific instances -- is not likely to be very successful,” he said. “We just don’t have the distribution network to support it.”

But to others, whether or not it’s worth building refineries in Canada is a matter of perspective. In interviews with The Huffington Post, several observers noted that these upgrades and expansions have tended to occur at refineries owned by the same U.S. companies that are developing Canada’s oil patch.

“Most of our oil industry is American-owned, and they decide to build our refining capacity elsewhere, rather than in Canada,” said Fred Wilson, assistant to the president at the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP).

“When they talk about what’s cost-effective and so on, they’re speaking from the perspective of their company, and not Canada or Canadians or Albertans," he said.

One frustration with the way the North American refining infrastructure has evolved is the imbalance that has formed between eastern and western Canada.

Because there is no cost-effective way to move the oil produced in the oil patch across the country, there is excess capacity in the refineries in eastern Canada, where more expensive Atlantic basin crude is imported, while oil sands producers are forced to offload their crude at a discount.

It’s a costly imbalance. Earlier this month, the difference between Western Canadian Select and the Brent crude oil that is imported into eastern Canada reached $30.50 -- a gap that is costing the Canadian economy an estimated $19-billion annually, Bloomberg News reports.

Meanwhile, east coast refineries continue to struggle. On May 17, Imperial Oil announced it will be putting its 95-year-old refinery in Dartmouth, N.S., on the chopping block, citing “global competition” and “declining demand [...] for refined products” as primary factors behind the decision.

As Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) noted, the move reflects a trend that has seen about a dozen refineries in Europe, the Caribbean and along the U.S. east coast idled in recent years due to sharp upticks in the cost of Atlantic Basin crudes and declining demand for fuel.

As Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers spokesman Travis Davies sees it, the excess capacity in east coast refineries and the relatively thin domestic market for oil suggests there is no economic case for more refineries to be built.

“We refine more than we use in Canada, so that’s not the problem,” he said. “If we were going to refine more we would be refining it for other markets, offshore markets, U.S. markets.”

In that scenario, he says profitability would depend on the ability to produce a product that could be competitive with what is coming out of the new super refineries in Asia, where labour and infrastructure costs are much lower.

But NDP energy critic Peter Julian has a different take. He says Canada’s failure to compete in the refining industry has been as much a result of government policy as economics.

“Can we build refineries? Can we build upgraders? Yes we can. We need a commitment from the government to look at policies that favour that kind of construction, and that kind of value-added production,” he told The Huffington Post. “What we have right now is a government that favours the opposite: exporting of raw bitumen.”

The NDP maintains that the decline of refinery capacity in Canada since the 1980s has led to an erosion high-paying jobs and spin-off benefits.

Citing data from the CEP, an NDP report estimated that 18,000 Canadian jobs are lost for every 400,000 barrels of raw bitumen that are exported, and recommends that government discourage this practice.

“[The] Conservative government has chosen to focus almost entirely on non-renewable energy export, with little if any consideration given to domestic supply of energy-related renewable or non-renewable resources,” the report argues, adding that the Conservative approach “is driven by the corporate interests of major energy companies.”

But as the global oil industry has evolved, the economics of building a new refinery in Canada have only become more difficult -- and the political will to do so even less apparent.

In its recent report on the issue, Parliament’s standing committee on natural resources concluded that because of the excess refining capacity in Canada and declining demand for fuel in developed countries, there “is currently no economic basis for building new refineries in Canada,” recommending instead that the focus be placed on the pipeline system. This includes a highly publicized proposal by Enbridge to begin planning on a $100 million reversal of an existing pipeline to deliver western Canadian crude to refineries in Ontario and Quebec.

Meanwhile, in Alberta, despite a public opinion poll that suggests that the overwhelming majority support government taking steps to increase the amount of oil sands crude that is processed in the province, the move does not appear likely.

Premier Alison Redford made clear earlier this year that she intends to let market forces dictate future bitumen upgrading projects, calling the deal the province struck with North West Upgrading “a commitment made by the previous government.”

Under that agreement, North West Upgrading will receive 25 per cent of its bitumen from Canadian Natural Resources, and the remainder from the supply that the Alberta government receives through royalties from oil producers. The province will also provide 75 per cent of operating costs, on top of agreeing to a debt-financing deal.

According to Andrew Leach, an associate professor at University of Alberta School of Business, the degree of government involvement in the NWU project means it should not be seen as evidence of the viability of new refineries and upgraders.

“What this shows is that with the type of contracts the government is offering, you can get a private company to build a refinery," he said, "but the first part of that sentence is really crucial, because it doesn’t tell you that private companies can make money on refining.”

But NWU’s MacGregor has a different outlook.

Though he concedes that his project would be difficult without government involvement, he says the $700 million in equity NWU and CNR have spent so far is a testament to the fact that investors believe in the economics of the venture.

“We believe we can make a lot of money doing this, and lots of other people do too, because they have supported us all along,” he said.

When it comes to further expansions to Alberta’s refining industry, he tends to dismiss naysayers, maintaining that just as oil sands producers will find safer, greener ways to extract bitumen, others will figure out how to process it locally.

“Everybody is going to say all the reasons why you can’t do something, but Canadians don’t have a history of paying any attention to that stuff,” he said. “Our history is we go and do stuff.”

10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT CANADA'S OIL INDUSTRY

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  • 10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP

    The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>

  • 9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980

    Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed

    Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.

    Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves

    Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>

  • 5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.

    One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry

    Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>

  • 3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands

    Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

  • 2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat

    Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>

  • 1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?

    The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.

10 Important Facts About Canada's Oil Industry (text-only version)

10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP
The oil and as industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP.

9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980
Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily

8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed
Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time.

7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.
Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009.

6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves
Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion.

5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.
One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel.

4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry
Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers.

3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands
Alberta' government will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat
Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010.

1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?
The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035 -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.

THE OIL SANDS AND CANADA'S ENVIRONMENT

Loading Slideshow...
  • Syncrude Upgrader and Oil Sands

    The refining or upgrading of the tarry bitumen which lies under the oil sands consumes far more oil and energy than conventional oil and produces almost twice as much carbon. Each barrel of oil requires 3-5 barrels of fresh water from the neighboring Athabasca River. About 90% of this is returned as toxic tailings into the vast unlined tailings ponds that dot the landscape. Syncrude alone dumps 500,000 tons of toxic tailings into just one of their tailings ponds everyday.

  • Boreal Forest and Coast Mountains / Atlin Lake, British Columbia | 2001

    This area, located in the extreme northwest of British Columbia, marks the western boundary of the Boreal region. On the border of the Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the western flank of these mountains descends into Alaska's Tongass Rainforest and British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. Far from the oil sands, the greatest remaining coastal temperate and marine ecosystem is imminently threatened by the proposal to build a 750-mile pipeline to pump 550,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude to the coast. Once there, it would be shipped through some of the most treacherous waters, virtually assuring an ecological disaster at some point in the future.

  • Tailings Pond in Winter, Abstract #2 / Alberta Tar Sands | 2010

    Even in the extreme cold of the winter, the toxic tailings ponds do not freeze. On one particularly cold morning, the partially frozen tailings, sand, liquid tailings and oil residue, combined to produce abstractions that reminded me of a Jackson Pollock canvas.

  • Aspen and Spruce | Northern Alberta | 2001

    Photographed in late autumn in softly falling snow, a solitary spruce is set against a sea of aspen. The Boreal Forest of northern Canada is perhaps the best and largest example of a largely intact forest ecosystem. Canada's Boreal Forest alone stores an amount of carbon equal to ten times the total annual global emissions from all fossil fuel consumption.

  • Tar Sands at Night #1 | Alberta Oil Sands | 2010

    Twenty four hours a day the oil sands eats into the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet's greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space.

  • Dry Tailings #2 | Alberta Tar Sands | 2010

    In an effort to deal with the problem of tailings ponds, Suncor is experimenting with dry tailings technology. This has the potential to limit, or eliminate, the need for vast tailings ponds in the future and lessen this aspect of the oil sands' impact.

  • Tailings Pond Abstract #2 | Alberta Tar Sands / 2010

    So large are the Alberta Tar Sands tailings ponds that they can be seen from space. It has been estimated by Natural Resources Canada that the industry to date has produced enough toxic waste to fill a canal 32 feet deep by 65 feet wide from Fort McMurray to Edmonton, and on to Ottawa, a distance of over 2,000 miles. In this image, the sky is reflected in the toxic and oily waste of a tailings pond.

  • Confluence of Carcajou River and Mackenzie River | Mackenzie Valley, NWT | 2005

    The Caracajou River winds back and forth creating this oxbow of wetlands as it joins the Mackenzie flowing north to the Beaufort Sea. This region, almost entirely pristine, and the third largest watershed basin in the world, will be directly impacted by the proposed Mackenzie Valley National Gas Pipeline to fuel the energy needs of the Alberta Oil Sands mega-project.

  • Black Cliff | Alberta Oil Sands | 2005

    Oil sands pit mining is done in benches or steps. These benches are each approximately 12-15 meters high. Giant shovels dig the oil sand and place it into heavy hauler trucks that range in size from 240 tons to the largest trucks, which have a 400-ton capacity.

  • Oil Sands Upgrader in Winter| Alberta Oil Sands | 2010

    The Alberta oil sands are Canada's single largest source of carbon. They produce about as much annually as the nation of Denmark. The refining of the tar-like bitumen requires more water and uses almost twice as much energy as the production of conventional oil. Particularly visible in winter, vast plumes of toxic pollution fill the skies. The oil sands are so large they create their own weather systems.

  • Boreal Forest and Wetland | Athabasca Delta Northern Alberta | 2010

    Located just 70 miles downstream from the Alberta oil sands, the Athabasca Delta is the world's largest freshwater delta. It lies at the convergence of North America's four major flyways and is a critical stopover for migrating waterfowl and considered one of the most globally significant wetlands. It is threatened both by the massive water consumption of the tar sands and its toxic tailings ponds.

  • Tar Pit #3

    This network of roads reminded me of a claw or tentacles. It represents for me the way in which the tentacles of the tar sands reach out and wreak havoc and destruction. Proposed pipelines to American Midwest, Mackenzie Valley, and through the Great Bear Rainforest will bring new threats to these regions while the pipelines fuel new markets and ensure the proposed five fold expansion of the oil sands.

  • <strong>NEXT -----> Craziest Pictures of the oilsands</strong>

  • Syncrude's Mildred Lake Upgrader, part of The Syncrude Project complex for oil sands processing, is pictured Monday, March 8, 2006 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

  • The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility is reflected in a lake reclaimed from an old mine near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada on October 22, 2009.

  • A disused mining machine on display in front of the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta on October 22, 2009.

  • Tailings pond in winter.

  • Syncrude upgrader.

  • Dry tailings.

  • The Suncor oilsands operation uses trucks that are 3 stories tall, weigh one million pounds, and cost 7 million dollars each.

  • Oilsands at night.

  • A tailings pond.

  • Black Cliff in the Alberta oilsands.

  • Oilsands upgrader in winter.

  • Oilsands extraction.

  • Oil sits on the surface at a Suncor Energy Inc. oilsands mining operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. Photographer:

  • A large oil refinery along the Athabasca River in Alberta's Oilsands. Fort McMurray, Alberta.

  • Oils mixes with water at a tailings pond at a Suncor Energy Inc. oilsands mining operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.

  • Fort McMurray is in the heart of the world's biggest single oil deposit - the Athabasca Oil Sands, and the oil is extracted by surface mining and refined in the region. The oil production is at the heart of the economy.

  • In this Aug. 5, 2005 file photo, the Syncrude upgrader spreads out towards the horizon at the company's oil sands project in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

  • This Tuesday, July 10, 2012 aerial photo shows a Nexen oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

  • This Sept. 19, 2011 aerial photo shows an oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada.

  • This Sept. 19, 2011 aerial photo shows an oilsands tailings pond at a mine facility near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada.

  • This Sept. 19, 2011 aerial photo shows an oilsands tailings pond at a mine facility near Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada.

  • The Syncrude extraction facility in the northern Alberta oil sand fields is reflected in the pool of water being recycled for re-use.

  • A night view of the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada on October 22, 2009.

  • Aerial view of a lake and forests in the vicinity of oil sands extraction facilities near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada on October 23, 2009.

  • Workers use heavy machinery in the tailings pond at the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta , Canada on October 25, 2009.

  • Fort McMurray is in the heart of the world's biggest single oil deposit - the Athabasca Oil Sands, and the oil is extracted by surface mining and refined in the region. The oil production is at the heart of the economy.

  • A large oil refinery in Alberta's Oilsands project. Fort McMurray, Alberta.

  • Next: Alberta Oil Spills

  • CFB Cold Lake, CNRL

    A bitumen leak was reported at a Canadian Natural Resources oilsands operation in the weapons range part of the RCAF base in June 2013.

  • CFB Cold Lake, CNRL

    Company officials said the leak - at what it calls its Primrose operation - was caused by faulty machinery at one of the wells, affected an area of approximately 13.5 hectares and released as much as 3,200 litres of bitumen each day.

  • CFB Cold Lake, CNRL

    Preliminary tallies put the death toll from the leak at 16 birds, seven small mammals and 38 amphibians. Dozen were rescued and taken to an Edmonton centre for rehabilitation.

  • CFB Cold Lake

    As of early August 2013, more than 1.1 million litres of bitumen had been pulled from marshlands, bushes and waterways.

  • CFB Cold Lake, CNRL

    Although CNRL could not say when the leak may finally be stopped, it estimates it will likely cost more than $40 million to clean up.

  • <em>Click through for other recent spill in Alberta</em>

  • Plains Midstream

    Little Buffalo band member Melina Laboucan-Massimo scoops up July 13, 2012 what appears to oil from the pond shoreline near the site of a 4.5 million-litre Plains Midstream pipeline leak detected April 29, 2011. Photos taken at the site and released by Greenpeace of Alberta's second-worst pipeline spill suggest at least part of the site remains heavily contaminated despite company suggestions that the cleanup is complete.

  • Plains Midstream Canada

    A boat passes by a boom stretching out to contain a pipeline leak on the Gleniffer reservoir near Innisfail, Alta., Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Plains Midstream Canada says one of their non-functioning pipelines leaked between 1,000-3,000 barrels of sour crude near Sundre, Alberta, on June 7 and flowed downstream in the Red Deer river to the reservoir.

  • Plains Midstream Canada

    Debris pushes up against a boom as it stretches out to contain a pipeline leak on the Gleniffer reservoir near Innisfail, Alta., Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

  • Plains Midstream Canada

    A boom stretches out to contain a pipeline leak on the Gleniffer reservoir near Innisfail, Alta., Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Plains Midstream Canada says one of their non-functioning pipelines leaked between 1,000-3,000 barrels of sour crude near Sundre, Alberta, on June 7 and flowed downstream in the Red Deer river to the reservoir.

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