Spills are inevitable in the oil "bidness" because of the sheer volume, distance and the mechanical contrivances used to deliver it from the ground to the consumer. Alberta experienced its largest pipeline spill in the thirty-five years when a leak was discovered Wednesday. Thirty-one thousand barrels of emulsion--a mix of bitumen, produced water and sand--spilled out into the path of the pipeline covering 170,000 square feet located south of Ft. McMurray at Nexen's Long Lake tar sands facility. Nexen reports that the spill has been contained and the broken pipeline isolated.
On the other side of the world a fisherman reported to authorities that he saw an oil slick 1km long in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef off Townsville. Small oily patches about 1m in diameter have also been spotted. The Austrailian Maritime Safety Authority is investigating the sightings. This incident occurs after Australia just missed having the Reef listed as "in danger" by UNESCO earlier this month. The World Heritage committee gave Australia five years to halt deterioration of the natural wonder.