Improving Pipeline Safety

 

Improving Pipeline Safety

Over the years, Alberta’s pipeline requirements have been examined against regulators around the world to ensure that we follow best practices.

In July 2012, the Honourable Ken Hughes, Alberta’s Minister of Energy at the time, directed the AER to conduct a third-party pipeline safety review. Group 10 Engineering Ltd. conducted the review, which examined the adequacy of pipeline requirements and industry best practices for public safety and response to pipeline incidents, pipeline integrity management, and the safety of pipelines at or near water crossings.

The Alberta Pipeline Safety Review included seventeen recommendations to enhance an existing strong and extensive Alberta pipeline regulatory system. The AER then reviewed and responded to the report.

More recently, in March 2015, the Auditor General released an audit on pipeline safety. The audit found that the AER has well-functioning pipeline regulations and made six recommendations for improvement. The AER accepted all of the recommendations and began implementing changes, including improvements in surveillance and enforcement, establishing performance measures and targets, and enhanced training for AER staff.

With all of the recommendations and improvements made over the years, we’ve been able to strengthen our requirements, which have helped to reduce pipeline incidents by 44 per cent over the last 10 years (2007–2016), all while the length of pipelines in Alberta increased by approximately 11 per cent. However, we know there is more to be done. We will continue to make sure our requirements align with the outcomes Albertans expect—public safety, environmental protection, resource conservation, and economic benefit—and will work closely with industry and regulators across the world to identify and adopt new technology to help us improve the integrity of pipelines and to prevent incidents.