EDMONTON, Alberta, July 23 (UPI) -- As a leader in energy production, the provincial government in Alberta, Canada, needs to ensure its pipeline safety standards are top notch, a minister said.
Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes called on the Canadian government to retain a third party to review the pipeline systems in the province. Specifically, he said, reviews are needed in integrity management, water crossings and spill response.
"As leaders in energy production and regulation, our pipeline integrity standards must be among the best in the world," he said in a statement. "If changes are needed, Albertans can rest assured that we will make them."
Alberta, home to some of the largest oil deposits in the world, hosts around 248,000 miles of pipeline. Environmental groups last week expressed concern about pipeline safety following a series of oil spills in the province in June.
Overall, said Hughes, pipeline incidents in the province have declined from 885 in 2007 to less than 650 in 2011. Nevertheless, the safety review would be broad in scope.
Most of the oil from Alberta is characterized as bitumen, or tar sands oil. That type of crude is considered by some groups to be more harmful to the environment than conventional crude oil.
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