After months of public hearings into their proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project, Enbridge Inc. submitted reply evidence to the National Energy Board’s joint review panel highlighting additional safety measures they will implement should the Gateway project be approved.
Just weeks after the U.S. National Transport Safety Board released their report which slammed the inadequacy of their response to a spill in Kalamzoo, Michigan, Enbridge identified six additional safety measures they would incorporate into the Northern Gateway pipleline to minimize the risk of a potential spill and to improve spill detection.
Enbridge hopes these measure will calm fears of an environmental disaster should a spill occur.
“We recognize that there are concerns among Aboriginal groups and the public around pipeline safety and integrity,” Executive Vice President, Western Access, Enbridge Inc, Janet Holder said.
“We had already planned to build a state-of-the-art project, using the most advanced technology, safety measures and procedures in the industry today.
“With these enhanced measures, we will make what is already a very safe project even safer in order to provide further comfort to people who are concerned about the safety of sensitive habitats in remote areas.”
The extra measures Enbridge outlined for the Northern Gateway pipeline include extra measures include increasing pipeline wall thickness of the oil pipeline with additional pipeline wall thickness for water crossings such of major tributaries to the Fraser, Skeena and Kitimat Rivers.
Enbridge said they would also increase the number of remotely-operated isolation valves, which would increase the number of isolation valves in BC by 50 per cent. Also in the reply evidence is an increase in the frequency of in-line inspection surveys across entire pipeline system by a minimum 50 per cent over and above current standards, installing dual leak detection systems, staffing pump stations in remote locations on a 24/7 basis for on-site monitoring, heightened security, and rapid response to abnormal conditions.
The extra measures, Enbridge said, build on the plan in the application presently before federal regulators that already far surpasses industry codes and standards and go above and beyond anything that has ever been done before in the industry.
The Enbridge expects these extra measures will carry an additional cost of approximately $400 million – $500 million.
“After years of consultation with stakeholders and after personally attending many regulatory hearings for Northern Gateway, it has become clear – we have to do everything we can to ensure confidence in the project,” Holder said.
“We’ve listened. We have often been asked if we could guarantee that we would never have a significant pipeline failure over the years on Northern Gateway.
“These initiatives will put the project closer than any pipeline system in the world to providing that guarantee.”
The Northern Gateway Project is a proposed 1,176-km twin pipeline system and marine terminal.
The proposed project, currently under regulatory review, would transport 525,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil for export and import 193,000 bpd of condensate.