Canadian Manufacturing

Regulator publicly lists pipeline companies’ safety records

The Alberta Energy Regulator says its on track to reach its target of reducing high-consequence incidents by two per cent by March 2017



CALGARY—The Alberta Energy Regulator is making it easier for the public to see which oil and gas companies are falling behind on pipeline safety.

The regulator on Feb. 21 launched a new pipeline reporting website that lays out several pipeline safety ratings for all operators in the province over the past two years.

David Helmer, director of pipelines in industry operations at the regulator, said making the ratings public should help push companies to improve.

“Some companies will see how they show up compared with other companies. They will probably improve because they probably just don’t know where they’re sitting compared to other companies,” said Helmer at a news conference. “But the intention of the report is really to be transparent about the type of information that we look at and provide this information to the public.”

He said some companies were very positive about the new reporting, but that others were concerned the data could be misinterpreted.

Last year, Enerplus Corp. topped the list for amount of liquid released with about 875,000 litres leaked, while Apache Canada Ltd. was second with about 629,000 litres.

On an incident per kilometre of pipeline ratio last year, Chinook Energy has the worst rating with about 52 incidents per 1,000 kilometres, followed by Osum Production Corp. with about 37 incidents per 1,000 kilometres.

None of the companies could be immediately reached for comment.

On the whole, pipeline incidents are on the decline in Alberta, with a 44 per cent drop in annual incidents over the past ten years and a three per cent drop between 2015 and 2016 to a total of 460 incidents last year.

Veronique Giry, vice president of industry operators at the regulator, said the trend is encouraging but the regulator continues to push for greater performance.

“While we are encouraged by these results, there is more that we can do because all pipeline incidents are preventable,” Giry said. “And one of the ways that we can help drive industry performance is by holding them more accountable to the public by reporting on their performance.”

The regulator has set a goal of reducing high-consequence incidents by two per cent in the fiscal year ending in March, and says its on track to reach that target.

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