Canadian Consulting Engineer

Newspaper questions integrity of Canada’s pipelines

A report in the Toronto Star newspaper on May 3 by Robert Cribb suggested that Canada's oil and gas pipelines are a...

May 15, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A report in the Toronto Star newspaper on May 3 by Robert Cribb suggested that Canada’s oil and gas pipelines are aging, bringing potential damage to the environment and a risk of explosions.
The newspaper obtained data from the National Energy Board under Access to Information Legislation and found that there were 26 ruptures since 1992 that have “threatened public safety or posed a serious environmental risk.” One notable explosion occurred last year at a gas pipeline in Brookdale, Manitoba that left a huge crater in the ground.
The country has 43,000 kilometres of gas and oil pipeline hidden underground. The investigative report said that data shows tonnes of oil has leaked into the ground from pipeline fractures, presenting a threat to water tables and ecosystems.
The report also pointed out that in the United States officials have mandatory inspections and stiff penalties for offenders, whereas regulators in Canada have never fined or prosecuted a pipeline company for such an offence. Kenneth Vollman, chair of the National Energy Board, which regulates the pipeline system, was quoted as saying the agency preferred to work with the industry than threaten punitive measures.


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