Alberta Energy Regulator tells companies to improve detection of pipeline leaks by Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press, July 14, 2016, The Calgary Herald
The Alberta Energy Regulator is urging pipeline operators to do a better job of developing and maintaining programs to discover leaks after it examined nearly two dozen spills over the last three years.
The AER said Thursday that after reviewing 23 major spills on pipelines carrying mostly oil well effluent and produced water, it found poor training and a lack of monitoring led to delays in detecting leaks in about a third of cases.
In a bulletin, the regulator said in eight cases, staff were insufficiently trained or failed to detect leaks for several days, and in those cases, it took on average 48 days for companies to respond and isolate the pipeline.
The AER said all personnel responsible for leak detection are required to be properly trained, and that competency testing and ongoing evaluations are vital. [That costs money. The oil and gas industry doesn’t like to spend money to protect workers, public health or the environment. Who’s going to pay for it? Taxpayers?]
The news comes only days after Nexen Energy released the findings of its investigation into a pipeline leak last July that spilled about five million litres of bitumen, sand and produced water southeast of Fort McMurray, Alta.
On Tuesday, Ron Bailey, Nexen Energy’s head of Canadian operations, said it took close to a month to discover the leak and that was due to a number of monitoring failures.
“The delay in discovery was primarily a result of shortcomings in the pipeline’s automation leak-detection system, and our ability to manage this system. This impacted our ability to respond to the rupture,” said Bailey.
AER spokesman Ryan Bartlett said the investigation into the spill at Nexen’s Long Lake oilsands facility is ongoing.
He said the AER had released the findings of its leak detection investigation following the recommendations of the provincial auditor general that it make more of its findings public. [Emphasis added]
A few comments to the article:
Do not be fooled by the wording in this bulletin. The AER has “investigated” 23 pipeline releases, yet, there have been 699 pipeline releases in this time.
Remember this every time an oil company pleads social license in light of “fail-safe”, “zero incident,” “world class technology” pipeline safety and integrity protocols.
They are lying. These systems do not work.
To this day, after 3 years and under the Rules of Law of disclosure in a legal action, we can not get the AER or Bellatrix to provide documentation that any of the 9.9% H2S lines that surround our home have been properly maintained or inspected, on a yearly basis, as per Directives. Have you seen the obliteration caused by an ignited gas line rupture?
Now that industries declining or non-existent income has been protracted and operators can barely stay afloat, maintenance and safety are the first to be trimmed from the budget.
This is simply more a$$ covering by our pathetic regulator.
Three years and 23 spills but no mention of the multiple derailments. [or the many spills of other types] The media is complacent as well as the provincial gov’t in stigmatizing oil. OPEC has won the war due to Canada having extremely WEAK leaders!!
[Refer also to:
2013 05 22: Crude Awakening: 37 years of oil spills in Alberta
Alberta’s had an average of two crude oil spills a day, every day for the past 37 years. [How many other types of spills a day for the last 40 years?]