Friday, January 29, 2016

Major Pipeline Failures in Alberta in 2015

Pipeline incidents have been in the news frequently during 2015, as there have been some serious pipeline failures that have occurred in Alberta in the past year. Russell NDE keeps a close eye on these events, and is troubled by their severe impact on the safety of people and the environment in our province. Pipeline spills also lead to mistrust of pipeline companies (which is a major reason for the delay of the Keystone Pipeline Project by more than 7 years.) Here are some major pipeline incidents that we have taken notice of in 2015.

Incident 1: The Nexen Pipeline Leak

On July 15, 2015, a 5 million litre spill of oil emulsion (a mixture of sand, water and bitumen) was discovered at Long Lake, 36 km south of Ft. McMurray. This spill was from the Nexen pipeline and covered an area of 16, 000 sq. km. and was the equivalent of 31, 000 barrels.

Incident 2: The NuVista Pipeline Leak

In August 2015, a failure in the five-kilometre NuVista pipeline resulted in 100,000 litres of contaminated water, oil and gas being spilled just 100 km northwest of High Level, AB. This spill affected an area of approximately 13, 200 sq. km.

Incident 3: The Murphy Oil Pipeline Leak

On March 1, 2015, a leak in a pipeline owned by Murphy Oil spilled 17,000 barrels of petroleum near Peace River, AB. The spill happened in a muskeg zone, a wetland area that is environmentally sensitive and incredibly diverse with plant and animal life.

Although these ­pipeline failures are a major cause for concern; pipelines remain the safest way to transport oil, natural gas, and other hazardous substances. These incidents should serve as a reminder that responsible management of pipeline infrastructure is of vital importance. It remains the responsibility of organizations that operate pipelines to ensure they are maintained and repaired. It’s Russell NDE’s mission to prevent pipeline failures through regularly scheduled in-line inspections. Contact us at 1(800) 661-0127 to find out more about our pipeline inspection and analysis services.