Pipeline incidents down; internal corrosion remains primary problem
The Alberta Energy Regulator says there were hundreds of pipeline safety incidents in the province last year but the rate has improved significantly in the past decade.
In its annual report on pipeline performance, it says incidents fell by nearly half, from 800 in 2008 to 417 in 2017, despite the total length of provincially regulated pipelines growing by 11 per cent to 426,000 kilometres.
According to Canadian Press, 26 of the incidents in 2017 resulted in high consequences — which could include more than 200,000 litres of liquids released, the release of poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas, impacts on flowing water or injuries to wildlife.
That’s down from 29 in 2016, as the total number of incidents dropped by six per cent in 2017 from the previous year.
About 80 per cent of incidents had low consequences, which means less than 20,000 litres of liquid spilled and it affected less than 100 square metres of land and no water bodies.
Incidents are defined by the AER as leaks from faulty fittings or installation, releases from auxiliary equipment, damage from something hitting the pipeline even if no leak results, minor leaks and ruptures.
The AER says nearly two-thirds of pipeline incidents resulted in less than 1,000 litres being released.
It says internal corrosion remains the leading cause of pipeline failure.