Oil pipelines in the news yet again

Cleanup of 900-gallon oil leak in Mokena continues

November 23, 2012|Reuters


  • An Enbridge storage tank at the Edmonton terminal is seen from the Freeway in Alberta.
An Enbridge storage tank at the Edmonton terminal is seen from the Freeway in Alberta. (Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters)

About 900 barrels of crude oil leaked from an Enbridge Inc. facility near Chicago this week. forcing the shut-down of one of its pipelines. But the spill was contained and line restarted the same day, the company said on Friday.

The leak occurred Tuesday at a tank farm at Mokena, near Chicago.

Enbridge’s Line 14, a 318,000 barrel a day conduit that carries crude to Mokena from Superior, Wis., was down after detection of the spill, the company and regulators said.

Enbridge spokesman Graham White said there was little environmental or operational impact. “All product was contained within the tank berm, and we are continuing with clean-up and repair,” White said in an email.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said it is investigating the cause of failure and has been in contact with the operator. A spokesman said he had no details about the specific line involved.

Enbridge’s Line 14 was shut for 11 days last summer after it spilled more than 1,000 barrels of crude onto a Wisconsin field.

At Mokena, Line 14 ties into Line 64 to Griffith, Ind., as part of Enbridge’s massive system of pipelines that carry Canadian crude to the U.S. Midwest and southern Ontario. This week’s incident did not affect Canadian crude markets, which are between trade cycles.


Former SNC-Lavalin CEO arrested on fraud charges

New allegations stem from Montreal contruction project

CBC News

Posted: Nov 28, 2012  12:04 PM ET

Last Updated:  Nov 28, 2012  10:47 PM ET

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Video Content

Former SNC-Lavalin CEO arrested4:29

Play VideoQuebec's anti-corruption squad arrests former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime on fraud charge in connection with construction contracts for a Montreal super-hospitalFormer SNC-Lavalin CEO arrested4:29


Quebec’s anti-corruption squad has arrested former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime, charging him and Riadh Ben Aissa, ex-head of the company’s construction arm, with fraud in connection with construction contracts for a Montreal super-hospital.

Duhaime was arrested Wednesday morning at his home. The provincial police unit says he faces charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and use of false documents stemming from allegations surrounding the McGill University Health Centre, according to the warrant issued by Quebec police.

The former head of SNC-Lavalin’s construction arm, Riadh Ben Aissa, faces similar charges, the warrant said.

Duhaime stepped down from SNC-Lavalin in March after an investigation revealed he signed off on $56 million in “improper payments,” to undisclosed agents, breaching the company’s code of ethics.

SNC-Lavalin spokeswoman Leslie Quinton issued a statement Wednesday, saying the company “has and will continue to co-operate fully with all authorities who request our assistance” and that it has “voluntarily turned over information” to authorities.

Ben Aissa is currently in jail in Switzerland, after he was arrested in April on charges of money laundering and corruption.

Authorities in Canada and Switzerland have been conducting a widening probe of the company’s dealings, including in Libya, focusing on $195 million in payments by SNC-Lavalin.

On Sunday, a joint investigation by CBC/Radio-Canada and Swiss public Broadcaster revealed the Swiss probe is examining $139 million in payments to a Swiss bank account tied to mega-construction contracts in Libya. That’s in addition to $56 million in “improper payments” identified by the company last spring, when Duhaime was forced to resign.

Widening investigation

Swiss investigators are trying to determine who approved a string of multimillion-dollar payments by SNC-Lavalin International now at the centre of the case. Sources have told CBC/Radio-Canada that Swiss investigators have questioned six high-level SNC-Lavalin executives, and hope to question three more, as they hold Ben Aissa in jail.

Geneva-based lawyer Roland Kaufmann is facing similar charges of money laundering and corruption in connection with the case.

Ben Aissa oversaw global construction projects and forged close ties to the Gadhafi regime in Libya, winning the company billions in contracts to build an airport, a prison, and a major water distribution project.

Last week, Sami Babawi, Ben Aissa’s predecessor as head of international construction projects, flew to Switzerland to talk to prosecutors.

The Swiss probe is focusing on SNC-Lavalin’s $139 million in payments to the Swiss bank accounts of Duvel Securities Inc. and Dinova international Inc., companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

According to RTS sources, those two companies were set up by the lawyer Kaufman at the direction of Ben Aissa. CBC News has learned that some of the money paid to those companies was then transferred into Ben Aissa’s own personal accounts.

SNC-Lavalin says it has handed its records documenting payments to the two companies to Swiss authorities, but that it is unaware of any “misuse of the funds.”

Ian Lee, a professor of international business at the Sprott School of Business, says large corporations face risks when they do business in corrupt countries.

“It’a real dilemma,” he told CBC News. “If you don’t pay bribes, the chances are you won’t get the contract. And if you do, there’s a very good chance you’ll go to jail in Canada.” He said with some countries, “you have to walk away.”

Shares of SNC-Lavalin Group fell 92 cents to close at $39.99 in TSX trading Wednesday.

With files from CBC’s Dave Seglins, John Nicol and The Canadian Press

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