Energy regulator and independent party to review pipeline safety
Alberta’s Energy Minister Ken Hughes has requested that the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) retain an independent third party to examine elements of the province’s pipeline system.
The ERCB, in conjunction with an independent third party to be contracted, will review three specific and integral areas of pipeline safety in our province. They will examine how pipeline integrity is managed, how safety of pipelines crossing water ways is ensured, and how responses to pipeline incidents are handled.
“As leaders in energy production and regulation, our pipeline integrity standards must be among the best in the world. If changes are needed, Albertans can rest assured that we will make them,” said Hughes. “The energy industry is the economic lifeblood of our province, and at the same time we want to ensure that Albertans have clean water, clean land and clean air. Today we are taking significant steps to ensure this will be the case for decades to come.”
The new pipeline safety review will run in conjunction with the current incident-specific investigations the ERCB is conducting. The pipeline safety review will be broader in scope, and will look at existing regulations and industry best practices from Alberta and around the world. At the conclusion of the review, a report will be submitted to Minister Hughes.
Alberta has almost 400,000 kilometers of provincially-regulated pipeline. The number of incidents has been steadily declining, from 885 in 2007 to 641 in 2011. All incidents, ranging from contact with a pipeline that does not cause a release to a spill, must be reported to the ERCB.
The Energy Resources Conservation Board is an independent, quasi-judicial agency whose mission is to ensure that the discovery, development and delivery of Alberta’s energy resources takes place in a manner that is fair, responsible and in the public interest.
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