ARCHIVED - Report on Progress - January 2012

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The National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) released its Action Plan on Safety and Environmental Protection 2011-2012 on 18 July 2011.The Action Plan will improve results in four key areas - worker safety, integrity of installations, damage prevention, and emergency preparedness and response. The Action Plan is part of our focus on continual improvement and holding those we regulate accountable for results that are in the public interest.

We are pleased to report that some initiatives are complete and others are well underway. Detailed project information is available from the Action Plan main webpage by clicking on individual actions. The following is a summary of progress to date on each of the actions committed to and activities scheduled in the next quarter:

1 Clarifying Expectations

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1.1

Finalize a Proposed Regulatory Change (PRC) for management system requirements to the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR-99) by 30 September 2011

PRC 2011-01 was issued on 29 July 2011. This PRC clarifies the Board’s requirement that regulated companies follow a management system approach to meet their obligations under the National Energy Board Act and the OPR-99.

Future activities: this action is complete. The Board is proceeding to amend the OPR-99 to include the PRC.

1.2

Provide clear guidance on compliance and enforcement for damage prevention by 31 December 2011

On 18 March 2011, the Board issued a Notice of Information Session and provided a Background Paper and Questions for Discussion.In the Background Paper, the Board provided draft guidance material that explains its current approach for responding to reports of unauthorized activities near federally-regulated pipelines. The guidance explains how the NEB brings companies and people into compliance with the regulations, and how regulations will be enforced.The information session provided an opportunity to clarify this approach as well as collect feedback on a proposed reporting tool.

Future activities: this action has been delayed. The Board intends to finalize the guidance presented in the Background paper by March 2012.

1.3

Identify key issues and develop a plan to achieve regulatory clarity for damage prevention by 29 February 2012

In November 2011, the Board met with various representatives of the damage prevention community, including those who provided comments on the proposed Damage Prevention Regulations (DPR) to discuss key issues to be addressed to reduce risks near pipelines. Feedback collected during the discussion, in addition to concerns heard throughout the process of developing the proposed DPR, will assist the Board in developing a plan to achieve regulatory clarity for its damage prevention framework.

Future activities: a plan to achieve regulatory clarity for damage prevention is expected to be released on schedule by 29 February 2012.

1.4

Improve measurement of industry performance for safety and environmental protection by 29 February 2012

The Board completed consultation on draft revised performance measures in October 2011.

Future activities: this action has been delayed in order to refine certain measures as a result of input received during consultations.The Board intends to finalize the measures by March 2012.

2 Improve accessibility of information

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2.1

Improve accessibility of information on the NEB's programs and the performance of regulated companies with respect to safety and environmental protection by 31 December 2011

On 30 August 2011, the NEB announced that it would begin to post documents related to Board-initiated safety and environmental compliance actions received or issued through the Secretary (except where information is protected by law) under the National Energy Board Act. This includes:

  • a. Board Orders and letters;
  • b. filings and correspondence regarding compliance with conditions of approvals and other Board Orders;
  • c. filings and correspondence from companies to the Board related to safety and environmental compliance actions, including Corrective Action Plans; and
  • d. final operational Audit Reports.

Future activities: this action is complete.

Recent compliance actions taken by the NEB to enhance safety and environmental protection can be found on Safety and Environmental Compliance webpage.

3 Take leadership on key safety and environmental protection issues

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3.1

Work with other regulators to identify key issues and potential solutions for safety and environmental protection by 30 September 2012

Following the Incident Reduction Workshop and the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review, the NEB is working to identify and act on key safety and environmental protection issues relevant to regulated companies’ performance in the following two areas:

  • a. implementing highly integrated and effective management systems
  • b. growing a robust and sustainable safety culture

These issues will be developed in collaboration with other interested provincial and international regulators. This work should inform the agenda for the NEB’s pipeline and facility safety forum committed to under action 3.2 below.

Future activities: share NEB views of key issues with other regulators in February 2012.

3.2

Convene a forum on pipeline and facility safety by 30 September 2012

Work on the Safety Forum has commenced by defining the format, potential issues to be explored and identifying speakers. The NEB has decided to re-schedule the timing of the forum to spring 2013. This will eliminate conflicts with other conferences scheduled for the same time period.

Future activities: announcements on forum subject matter and speakers should begin by summer 2012.

 

________________________________
L. George
Acting Secretary of the Board

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