Canadian Manufacturing

NEB not ready to green light Line 9

Regulator says further testing to ensure safe operation



MONTREAL—The National Energy Board is not giving Enbridge the green light on Line 9B just yet. The regulator has order the company to conduct hydrostatic testing on the pipeline spanning from Montreal to North Westover, Ont. in order to instill confidence in the pipeline’s safe operation.

Before Line 9B becomes operational, the NEB is requiring hydrostatic testing results on three segments of the pipeline. The segments are located around Hilton, Ont., between Kingston and Brockville Ont., and in Mirabel Qc. The number and location of the segments to be tested were identified by NEB professional engineers to provide the best results to validate existing data. The learnings gained will be applied, as appropriate, to the entire pipeline.

“With each project we regulate, and at each step of the process, public safety and the protection of the environment are our greatest priorities,” Peter Watson, NEB chair and CEO, said. “The public dialogue surrounding this project reiterates the necessity for the NEB to deliver on those priorities. Our expectation of companies is zero incidents and an unwavering commitment to safety.”

Line 9B is located in a heavily urbanized area with a large number of waterways. Any release, the regulator said, would travel rapidly to the water systems and affect a large number of people. A higher degree of confidence in the integrity, or condition, of the pipeline is required to show that the pipeline is safe to operate. It will also provide useful data for tracking the condition of the pipeline over time while preserving the data already collected.

The NEB has also applied strict conditions through MO-045-2015 that include:

  • Enbridge must conduct biweekly ground patrols to inspect for pipeline leaks during the first two years of Line 9B operations.
  • Enbridge must conduct quarterly specialized pipeline integrity testing along the full length of Line 9 for the first two years of operation. Integrity test results must also be submitted to the NEB upon request.
  • Enbridge must conduct an additional internal, or in-line, inspection within the first year of operation. The company must submit results of this test to the NEB for review.

Conditions imposed by the NEB are legal requirements. Should Enbridge fail to remain in compliance with any conditions of approval throughout the full lifespan of the project, the NEB has said it will take immediate action.

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