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Report details 37 'pipeline incidents' in BC last year

There were 37 pipeline incidents reported in British Columbia in 2009, according to a recent B.C. Oil and Gas Commission report.

“The majority of incidents were classified as minor,” says the report, the first the commission has released on the subject. “Three incidents . . . accounted for the majority of products released in 2009, the most significant being an act of vandalism.”

Eleven of the incidents involved sour natural gas pipelines, seven involved natural gas, one crude oil and 10 water. There were also incidents on pipelines carrying emulsion, condensate, methanol and sour oil well effluent.

“The Commission notes that no leak is acceptable regardless of the product type,” the report said.

“Within British Columbia, the predominant hazard for pipelines is internal corrosion, which accounted for approximately 40 per cent of incidents in 2009,” said the report. Other causes included seven cases blamed on “improper operation”, three that were attributed to slope movement or weather, and three blamed on material manufacturing or construction defects.

Regulations require the reporting of all pipeline incidents to either the Oil and Gas Commission or the Provincial Emergency Program. “A reportable pipeline incident is any incident resulting in, or having potential to, damage a pipeline, even if there is no spillage of products or substances from the pipeline.”

The incidents reported included a release of 10,000 cubic metres of natural gas due to internal corrosion and a 31,000 cubic metre release of sour natural gas after a pipeline was vandalized.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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