Canadian regulator touts pipeline safety

Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:13 AM

CALGARY, Alberta, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The director of Canada's National Energy Board said pipeline safety "is and always has been" a top concern for federal regulators.

NEB Director Gaetan Caron said the agency requires pipeline companies to anticipate and mitigate any potentially dangerous conditions on their pipelines.

"Pipeline safety is and always has been of paramount concern to the National Energy Board and we recognize it is of growing concern to Canadians," he said in a statement.

Pipeline company Plains Midstream Canada deployed containment boom and hundreds of workers to respond to a leak from its Rangeland pipeline system in Alberta province in mid-June. That spill corresponded with recent similar incidents from Enbridge and Pace Energy Oil and Gas in the region.

A new law set to go into force next year, Caron said, would set a maximum daily penalty of more than $100,000 per violation with no maximum total fine for releases.

Pipeline company Kinder Morgan aims to expand its Canadian pipeline network given surging demand for oil from Asian markets. Enbridge is pursuing a similar effort with its Northern Gateway pipeline project.

Enbridge's reputation was tarnished following a series of pipeline releases in the United States. Caron said the NEB was investigating U.S. federal reports on the incidents.

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