AER escalating nothing to a grand total of nothing! Energy watchdog escalates scrutiny of pipeline operators with a voluntary form, for some.


Diana Daunheimer

This is not increased scrutiny, but another flimsy, deluded PR move by the AER to convince the public they properly inspect, regulate and enforce the Pipeline Act, related directives and enactments. It’s comedic the AER is requesting voluntary disclosure by companies, when they should be in possession of all pipeline integrity information already, as it is mandated for licensing and operations.

There are hundreds of companies that operate pipelines, and likely every single one is non-compliant on certain operational aspects, particularly line inspections and maintenance, such as pigging lines, or ensuring leak detection systems are operational. The AER refuses to provide us the records that the sour gas lines around our home have been maintained or inspected. I encourage people to make similar requests, the response will shock you.

Every company must submit all pipeline maintenance records, inspections and integrity reports to the AER, and they should make this information public. [Emphasis added]

Energy watchdog escalates scrutiny of pipeline operators to reduce spills by Reid Southwick, March 31, 2017, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s energy watchdog is escalating its scrutiny of pipeline operators with far more reviews of their ability to detect spills and prevent them from happening.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said Friday it plans to review the pipeline safety systems of roughly 20 operators each year, up from the six or so it has checked annually in the past.

The regulator said one of the factors that will help guide its decisions selecting the companies to review will be a new voluntary form asking certain operators about their pipeline safety systems and any gaps they have identified.

“We don’t look too specifically at the particular pipelines; we look at the company, so does the company give us a reason to think they don’t have or do have an adequate management system?” said David Helmer, the regulator’s director of pipelines.

According to the regulator, pipeline spills in Alberta are on a decline. The number of incidents fell by 44 per cent in the past decade, with 460 reported in 2016, a three per cent drop over the previous year.

Still, the watchdog believes every incident is preventable and wants the trend to continue, having set a goal to reduce the number of major spills by two per cent over the previous two-year average.

The energy regulator recently issued one of its largest ever fines for a pipeline spill since it was formed four years ago. Murphy Oil was fined $172,500 [For a major oil company making billions in profits, that’s nothing] for a spill that went undetected for a month and a half in early 2015, dumping 1.4 million litres of condensate southeast of Peace River.

The regulator’s investigation found Murphy Oil failed to inspect its pipelines for signs of corrosion for three years, failed to perform regular maintenance on its leak detection system and failed to train workers to understand signs of a leak. [Why bother passing when the No Duty of Care, law violating AER doesn’t give a damn except for PR purposes?]

The company said it made “significant changes” to its pipeline safety systems after the major spill. [Just pretend or on paper, as usual?]

Helmer said the energy regulator wants to make sure [Escape hatch words. Wanting to, and doing are two very different things. Why not tell the industry, media and public the regulator WILL MAKE SURE?] operators across the industry are maintaining their pipelines to prevent spills and have the proper controls and training in place to ensure they can quickly detect leaks.

In mid-April, the watchdog plans to ask [More escape hatch words] roughly 50 oil and gas operators [Why not all of the operators? Can’t AER staff read well enough?] to fill out a [VOLUNTARY] form requesting they prove that they properly maintain their pipelines and have identified risks with plans to manage them.

These 50 companies will be selected based on the level of risk in their pipeline systems, including those running larger pipeline networks and those with higher rates of incidents.

The four-page form is voluntary, though the regulator warns companies that don’t fill it out, or do a poor job, will attract suspicion about whether their pipeline safety systems are adequate. [Oooo, boo hoo scary]

Helmer said the purpose of the form is not to punish those who may have gaps in their systems, but to work with those operators to fill the gaps.

He noted the watchdog will also look at the company’s history of pipeline incidents, its record of complying with regulator rules and what independent inspections of the company’s infrastructure have found.

Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, said the regulator is taking a “prudent” step by identifying operators it believes require extra scrutiny.

“It’s a smart regulatory environment where you have overall regulatory supervision [by companies themselves!] but you focus in on companies that, for whatever reason, would indicate they require greater scrutiny,” Leach said. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Really? “Tougher Alberta rules convince oil & gas producers to accelerate well cleanups.” What good does “accelerating” zero do? Why not just clean up now and quit the pathetic whining? Why then did the oilpatch dump their unpaid bills on farmers? The worst is yet to come ]

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