Canadian energy companies last month shut down some of their pipeline networks in response to heavy flooding in Alberta province. Small oil releases were reported when some pipeline networks were dislodged because of flooding in the north of the province.
The National Energy Board said the total volume of releases from the pipelines it regulates declined during the last five years. The average number of spills characterized last year as small, or 50 barrels of liquid or less, was one, compared to eight in 2008. Two spills were reported last year for volumes greater than 50 barrels, half the average amount for 2008, the agency said.
"While this is a step in the right direction, the NEB expects its regulated companies to strive for zero incidents," the agency said in a report published Wednesday.
The NEB regulates more than 11,000 miles of pipelines in Canada. Incidents reported to the NEB extend beyond spills to include fires, equipment failures and security issues.