Canadian energy regulator to audit pipeline safety practices of Enbridge


CALGARY, Alberta – Enbridge’s safety and management practices will be audited by Canada's federal energy regulator in the wake of a critical report on Enbridge's 2010 spill in Michigan by US regulators.

Canada's National Energy Board is reviewing the Calgary pipeline company's management practices and safety record, according to a letter from the regulator's chairman.

"In the next weeks and months, we will be conducting safety audits to review and confirm that improvements, particularly to their control room practices in Edmonton, are satisfactory," NEB chairman Gaetan Caron said in the letter.

The audits come after the US National Transportation Board released last month a report critical of Enbridge's handling of a 2010 crude oil spill in Marshall, Mich.

In the report, the NTSB said that Enbridge's control room acted like “Keystone Cops,” failing to adequately maintain a crude oil pipeline and then making the spill worse by trying to restart the pipeline before they realized it had leaked.

Mr. Caron said in his letter that the NEB would thoroughly review the US report and apply its lessons to pipelines and companies in Canada.

He also said that the NEB had “been reviewing Enbridge's management practices” even before the NTSB’s final report on the spill had been released.

Enbridge spokesman Todd Nogier said the company will cooperate with the NEB’s review of the changes it made to its operations following the incident in Marshall.

“We want the industry to be as safe as it can be for everyone, for the public, for our team members and for the environment,” he said.

The July 2010 incident spilled about 20,000 bbl of oil into the Kalamazoo River and was the costliest on-shore spill in US history, the NTSB said.

An Enbridge pipeline in neighboring Wisconsin also leaked last week, spilling some 1,200 bbl of oil. The Department of Transportation blocked Enbridge from restarting the line Tuesday, asking Enbridge to conduct additional integrity tests.

Both pipelines are part of Enbridge's Mainline system, a series of pipelines that carries the majority of the crude oil imports into the US from Canada, which is the largest US supplier of foreign oil imports.

Dow Jones Newswires

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