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Focus on Safety and Environment - A Comparative Analysis of Pipeline Performance - 2000-2008 [PDF 1724 KB]

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August 2010

Left: Backhoe digs a pipeline trench; Top Right: Pipeline in a field; Bottom Right: Forest river

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Figures
Tables
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Foreword
1. Introduction
1.1 NEB Safety Role
1.2 2000-2008 Pipeline Performance Indicators
1.3 Reference Organizations
2. Pipeline Safety Performance
2.1 Pipeline Fatalities
2.2 Injuries
2.3 Detailed Injury Analysis
2.4 Construction Safety Inspections
2.5 Pipeline Ruptures
2.6 Pipeline Unauthorized Activities in Rights of Way
3. Pipeline Environmental Performance
3.1 Liquid Pipeline Pipebody Releases
3.2 Liquid Release Frequency Comparisons
3.3 Liquid Release Volume Comparisons
3.4 Operational Liquid Leaks
3.5 Non-Pipeline Liquid Spills
3.6 Gas Releases and Operational Gas Leaks
3.7 Gas Release Frequency Comparison
3.8 Operational Gas Leak Frequency
4. NEB-Regulated Pipeline Performance Indicator Summary
5. Looking Ahead
Appendix One - Pipeline Performance Indicator Data

List of Figures and Tables

Figures

Figures
2.1 Fatalities on NEB-Regulated Pipelines
2.2 Injury Frequency
2.3 Liquid Pipeline Injury Frequency
2.4 Gas Pipeline Injury Frequency
2.5 Employee Injury Frequency
2.6 Contractor Injury Frequency
2.7 2008 NEB Pipeline Safety Inspections
2.8 NEB-Regulated Pipeline Ruptures 1991-2008
2.9 NEB-Regulated Pipeline Rupture Causes
2.10 Pipeline Rupture Cause Comparison
3.1 Pipebody Liquid Release Frequency
3.2 Pipebody Liquid Release Volume
3.3 Pipeline Operational Liquid Leak Frequency
3.4 Pipebody Gas Release Frequency
3.5 Operational Gas Leak Frequency

Tables

Tables
2.1 Cumulative Serious Injuries 2000-2008
2.2 Contractor Serious Injury Causes 2000-2008
2.3 Unauthorized Activities on NEB-Regulated Pipeline Rights of Way
3.1 Pipebody Liquid Releases
3.2 Liquid Release Reporting Criteria
3.3 Pipeline Operational Leaks
3.4 Non-Pipeline Liquid Spills
3.5 Pipeline Gas Releases and Leaks
3.6 Gas Release Reporting Criteria
4.1 NEB-Regulated Pipeline Performance Indicator Summary
A1.1 Companies Reporting Performance Indicator Data for 2008
A1.2 NEB-Regulated Pipeline Lengths
A1.3 Pipeline Contractor and Employee Injury Frequency Raw Data
A1.4 Gas and Liquid Pipeline Worker Hours
A1.5 Reference Organization Pipeline Lengths
A1.6 Reference Organization Injury Frequency Data

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
CAPP Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
CONCAWE European Oil Companies Association for Environment, Health and Safety
CSA Canadian Standards Association
EGIG European Gas Pipeline Incident Data Group
ERCB Energy Resources Conservation Board (formerly Alberta Energy and Utilities Board)
HRSDC Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
NEB National Energy Board
NGL Natural Gas Liquids
OPR-99 Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999
PHMSA Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Foreword

This report, Focus on Safety and Environment: A Comparative Analysis of Pipeline Performance, 2000-2008, examines the number and frequency of various incidents that affect pipeline safety, integrity and the environment. The objective of this report is to present safety and environmental performance indicators of NEB-regulated onshore pipelines and to compare the data to that of other jurisdictions.

Pipeline in a forestThe first of the NEB's annual performance indicators reports, Focus on Safety: A Comparative Analysis of Pipeline Safety Performance, was published in April 2003. This eighth edition of the report includes data from 1 January 2000 through 31 December 2008.

The NEB continually seeks input and feedback from stakeholders on the value of this report and ways it can be improved. Any comments or questions pertaining to this report should be directed to:

In English or French:

Ms. Kim Maddin
Operations Business Unit
National Energy Board
444 Seventh Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
T2P 0X8
Phone: 403-299-2763
Toll Free: 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-292-5503

1. Introduction

1.1 NEB Safety Role

Pump station under construction In 2008 the NEB regulated 104 oil, gas and product pipeline companies that operate approximately 47 000 kilometres of pipelines across Canada under the National Energy Board Act and the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR-99). This network includes large diameter, small diameter, high-pressure natural gas, crude oil and oil products pipelines, as well as a number of commodity (non-hydrocarbon) pipelines.

 

The NEB gathers information on performance indicators that relate to safety and environmental impacts through both compulsory reporting on a per incident basis and on an annual voluntary basis, for all pipelines regulated through the OPR-99. The performance indicators reported upon relate to:

  • Fatalities;
  • Injuries;
  • Pipeline ruptures;
  • Pipeline contacts;
  • Liquid releases, leaks and spills; and
  • Gas releases.

The voluntary performance data is normalized on the basis of pipeline length and hours worked, allowing for annual comparisons, as well as comparisons between agencies and other organizations. The NEB compiles this annual report in order to provide a historic trend analysis.

1.2 2000-2008 Pipeline Performance Indicators

In 2001, the NEB began the Safety Performance Indicator (SPI) Initiative, a voluntary reporting initiative to collect detailed information on injuries, leaks, and spills. The analysis of this voluntarily reported data helps both the NEB and its regulated companies to monitor safety and environmental performance. The information gathered for this report represents data to 31 December 2008. A list of companies that have voluntarily reported environmental and safety information for 2008 is provided in Appendix One, Pipeline Performance Indicator Data.

In 2008, reporting by pipeline companies showed that several performance indicators have improved since 2007. From a safety perspective, injury frequencies for both contractors and employees have seen a marked decrease in 2008, returning to levels comparable to those reported in 2005 and 2006. However, two fatalities reported in 2008 are cause for major concern. Safety performance indicators are discussed in detail in Chapter 2 of this report.

From an environmental protection perspective no pipebody liquid releases were reported and the number of non-pipeline spills and liquid leaks remained stable. Environmental performance indicators are discussed in detail in Chapter 3 of this report.

For the purpose of evaluating pipeline construction, operation and maintenance performance, the term "pipeline" includes: all branches, extensions, tanks, reservoirs, storage facilities, pipes, pumps, valves, racks, compressors and loading facilities integral to the operation of a hydrocarbon pipeline.

1.3 Reference Organizations

Where comparable data is available, the NEB conducts a comparative analysis of performance indicators with that of other agencies. This external data is based on publicly available documents provided on websites and in published reports. The following organizations have been selected for comparison in this report:

Pipeline under construction

2. Pipeline Safety Performance

The NEB recognizes the efforts regulated companies and their contractors make to operate safe workplaces in order to prevent fatalities and injuries. That being said, the nature of the industry and the number of persons working within it pose a continuous risk. In order to reduce risk to the public and workers, proactive safety management and a culture of safety must be values and priorities for industry.

2.1 Pipeline Fatalities

Fatality data provided by NEB-regulated pipeline companies are evaluated to determine if the incident involved employees, contractors or members of the public and whether it involved activities related to the construction, operation or maintenance of pipelines.

Figure 2.1 shows the number of reported fatalities on NEB-regulated pipelines between 1991 and 2008. All fatalities reported between 1991 and 1997 involved contract workers conducting construction activities. There followed ten consecutive years in which there were no work-related fatalities on NEB-regulated pipelines, though several thousands kilometres of new pipelines were constructed and existing pipelines expanded during that period. Two fatalities were reported for 2008; one involved a contractor conducting construction activities, while the second involved an employee performing an operation and maintenance activity.

Figure 2.1 - Fatalities on NEB-Regulated Pipelines

Figure 2.1 - Fatalities on NEB-Regulated Pipelines

On 24 March 2008, near Kerrobert, Saskatchewan, an electrician employed by a pipeline company died while working with high voltage electricity. The investigation has concluded and the details are available on the NEB website.

The root causes of the incident include:

  • Inappropriate risk categorization of the hazards associated with the job.
  • Lack of understanding and inconsistent application of the hazard assessment, safe work permit and task analysis procedures.
  • Internal company forms not consistently applied or clearly understood by the workers.
  • A lack of safety culture and awareness among the workers involved.
  • Weaknesses in the safety training program provided to the workers involved in this incident.
  • Inconsistent knowledge and practice among workers involved in this incident on the required personal protective equipment for electrical work.

On 24 June 2008, an employee of a contractor working for a NEB-regulated company left the worksite in a company vehicle for a town of Biggar, SK sometime between 4:00 & 4:30 p.m. to pick up parts required to complete an equipment repair.

Approximately 45 minutes after the employee left the site, the vehicle went off the road.

2.2 Injuries

Frequency data for injuries is reported through a combination of mandatory reporting under the OPR-99 and voluntary reporting under the SPI initiative; as such it includes all lost time and restricted workday injuries, but excludes fatalities. For this report, injury data submitted by NEB-regulated companies have been separated into three catagories:

  1. Employee Injuries
    These are injuries that occur while an employee is involved in activities associated with their job duties. Employee data from NEB-regulated pipelines do not include head office staff but do include staff from other facility offices.
  2. Contractor Injuries
    These are injuries that occur while a contract worker is involved in activities pursuant to their contract with a pipeline company. Contractor data include contractors performing activities related to the construction, operation, or maintenance of NEB-regulated pipelines.
  3. Worker Injuries
    These are injuries that occur while a contract worker is involved in activities pursuant to their contract with a pipeline company. Contractor data include contractors performing activities related to the construction, operation, or maintenance of NEB-regulated pipelines.

These data are shown in Figure 2.2. All injury frequencies are measured in terms of injuries per 200 000 hours of work. Work based on 200 000 hours is widely used in the health and safety industry and is equivalent to the number of hours worked by 100 full-time employees in one year. Worker injury frequency decreased from 1.9 injuries per 200 000 hours in 2007 to 1.0 in 2008.

Figure 2.2 - Injury Frequency

Figure 2.2 - Injury Frequency

2008 was a heavy construction year for the pipeline industry, with employees and contractors working nearly four times as many hours as were worked in 2007. The Board notes that the frequency of injuries showed a significant decrease in 2008. However, the Board remains concerned about the number of injuries sustained by workers in the pipeline industry and would like to highlight the importance of further improvement. A summary of employee and contractor hours and the number of injuries incurred since 2000 is provided in Appendix One Pipeline Performance Indicator Data.

2.3 Detailed Injury Analysis

To better understand reported injury frequencies, data has been separated by contractor and employee and by type of pipeline. In addition, contractor serious injury types and causes, as well as non-compliances observed by the NEB on construction projects have been evaluated.

NEB-Regulated Liquid Pipeline Injuries

Liquid pipelines include crude oil, refined product and NGL pipelines. Contractor, employee and worker injury frequencies for NEB-regulated liquid pipelines are shown in Figure 2.3. It is of note that no contractor or employee injuries were reported in 2002.

Figure 2.3 - Liquid Pipeline Injury Frequency

Figure 2.3 - Liquid Pipeline Injury Frequency

The contractor injury frequency has historically been higher than that of company employees, increasing steadily from 2004 through 2007; this trend did not continue in 2008. The employee injury frequency for liquid pipelines has been relatively low for the past seven years; however there was a recent increase from 0.4 in 2007 to 0.5 in 2008. The contractor injury frequency of 1.4 injuries per 200 000 hours for liquid pipelines in 2008 represents a reduction of 43 percent over the 2007 results and a reduction of 57 percent over the 9 year average of 3.5.

NEB-Regulated Gas Pipeline Injuries

Gas pipelines include natural gas, both sweet and sour and high vapour pressure product pipelines. The injury frequency for all workers including contractors and employees for NEB-regulated gas pipelines is shown in Figure 2.4.

Figure 2.4 - Gas Pipeline Injury Frequency

Figure 2.4 - Gas Pipeline Injury Frequency

The gas pipeline employee and contractor injury frequency decreased significantly in 2008. Employee injuries fell 76 percent from 2.2 in 2007 to 0.5 in 2008. Contractor injuries fell from 2.1 in 2007 to 0.7; a 67 percent reduction.

Employee Injury Frequency Comparisons

NEB-regulated pipeline employee injury frequency is compared to reference organizations, Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) for the period 2000 to 2008 in Figure 2.5. NEB-regulated pipeline companies show a marked increase in the number of employee injuries between 2005 and 2007, while the CAPP frequency decreased. In 2008, the employee injury frequency fell by 56 percent; this reduction to 0.68 is now more consistent with the reported CAPP frequency of 0.64.

Figure 2.5 - Employee Injury Frequency

Figure 2.5 - Employee Injury Frequency

HRSDC publishes employee injury frequency data, which includes disabling injuries to employees, both in the field and working in head and regional offices for all federally regulated workplaces. NEB-regulated pipeline employee injury data does not include head offices. The HRSDC pipeline employee injury frequency for 2000 to 2007 ranged from 0.3 to 0.6 injuries per 200 000 hours. HRSDC data was not available for 2008 at the time of this comparison.

Contractor Injury Frequency Comparisons

A comparison of contractor injury frequency relative to CAPP data for the period of 2000 through 2008 in Figure 2.6 shows that NEB-regulated pipeline injury frequencies were on average similar to those reported by CAPP. The NEB nine-year average indicates that approximately 2 out of 100 full time contractor workers were injured every year.

Figure 2.6 - Contractor Injury Frequency

Figure 2.6 - Contractor Injury Frequency

Contractor Serious Injuries

The types of serious injuries incurred by contracted workers on NEB-regulated pipelines and reported between 2000 and 2008 have been categorized in Table 2.1. Serious injury is defined as an injury that results in: the fracture of a major bone; the amputation of a body part; the loss of sight in one or both eyes; internal haemorrhage; third degree burns; unconsciousness; or the loss of function of a body part. Note that no serious injuries were reported in 2002. In 2008 two serious injuries were reported.

Table 2.1 - Cumulative Serious Injuries 2000–2008

Table 2.1 - Cumulative Serious Injuries 2000-2008
Type of Event or Exposure Number of Serious Injuries
Contact with Objects & Equipment
Struck by Object 8
Caught in Object 4
Struck against Object 1
Contact with Electricity 2
Other 0
Falls  
Fall on Same Level 0
Fall to Lower Level 2
Other 0
Transportation Accidents 1
Fire and Explosions 0
Total Number of Serious Injuries 18

The NEB has conducted further analysis on the causes of these incidents as shown in Table 2.2. The NEB has noted that the contractor injury frequency is, on average, higher than that of employees. While the hazard exposure may be greater for contractors, preventative measures such as hazard assessments, proactive safety management programs and worker education should be designed to reduce any increased risk.

Table 2.2 - Contractor Serious Injury Causes 2000-2008

Table 2.2 - Contractor Serious Injury Causes 2000-2008
Direct Causes 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Total
Sub-
standard Acts
Improper position for task   1     1         2
Improper placement 1 1   1     1   1 5
Using equipment improperly   1       1       2
Failure to warn 1                 1
Failure to secure       1       2 1 4
Failure to follow procedures           1       1
Sub-
standard Conditions
Hazardous environ-
mental conditions
          1       1
Inadequate sign or label         1         1
Total Injuries 2 3 0 2 2 3 1 2 2 17
Basic Causes                    
Job Factors Inadequate leadership / supervision 1 2               3
Inadequate tools and equipment       1       1 1 3
Inadequate work standards       1 1         2
Inadequate engineering           1   1   2
Personal Factors Poor Judgment   1       1 1     3
Lack of knowledge           1     1 2
Improper motivation 1       1         2
Total Injuries 2 3 0 2 2 3 1 2 2 17

2.4 Construction Safety Inspections

Pipeline in a right of wayAs part of its activities to monitor compliance with the OPR-99, safety regulations and associated technical standards, the NEB regularly inspects pipeline construction projects. Should contraventions of the CLC and OPR-99 be noted during observed during inspecitions, they are often corrected immediately onsite. They are recorded and tracked so that the NEB and Industry may pay special attention to areas of concern. This allows the NEB and its regulated companies to apply a predictive approach to incident prevention and overall safety management. The results of NEB safety inspections in 2008 are shown in Figure 2.7.

Figure 2.7 - 2008 NEB Pipeline Safety Inspections

Figure 2.7 - 2008 NEB Pipeline Safety Inspections

2.5 Pipeline Ruptures

Ruptures are defined as a "loss of containment event that immediately impairs the operation of a pipeline". Pipeline ruptures have the potential to be severely detrimental to the environment and to public and worker safety. Pipeline ruptures are always investigated to determine their primary cause. The number of NEB-regulated pipeline ruptures and their primary cause since 1991 are shown in Figure 2.8 These data are considered both safety and environmental performance indicators.

Figure 2.8 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Ruptures 1991-2008

Figure 2.8 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Ruptures 1991-2008

Between 1991 and 2002, there was an average of 2.5 ruptures per year. In 1999, companies were required under the OPR-99 to have pipeline integrity management programs. The proactive nature and the evolution of individual company integrity management programs may be responsible in part, for the decline in ruptures since 2002. However, in 2007 there were two ruptures on liquid pipelines. One rupture occurred when a third party struck a crude oil pipeline. The other rupture was caused by cracking due to fatigue. There were no ruptures reported in 2008.

Figure 2.9 provides a breakdown of reported ruptures on NEB-regulated pipelines and their primary causes. The primary cause of ruptures on NEB-regulated pipelines between 1991 and 2008 was corrosion due to cracking and metal loss. Cracking includes hydrogen-induced and mechanical damage delayed cracking, stress corrosion, and corrosion fatigue. Metal loss includes both internal and external corrosion. The category of "Other Causes" includes improper operation, fire and yet to be determined causes.

Figure 2.9 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Rupture Causes

Figure 2.9 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Rupture Causes

Worker with pipeline in trenchSome pipelines of specific vintage and of certain construction methods have experienced a higher rupture frequency than others.[1] A number of factors have contributed to the absence of ruptures on new pipelines, including the quality of pipeline coatings and cathodic protection, new construction methods, effective pressure testing and welldeveloped integrity management programs.

[1] Jeglic, F. Analysis of Ruptures and Trends on Major Canadian Pipeline Systems. National Energy Board, Calgary, Canada, 2004.

Rupture Cause Comparisons

The cause of NEB-regulated pipeline ruptures since 1991 is compared to those reported by the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the European Gas Pipeline Incident Data Group (EGIG) in Figure 2.10. While each organization has different timeframes over which they have examined rupture causes, annual evidence from these organizations suggests that the leading cause of ruptures generally remains constant over time within each organization.

Figure 2.10 - Pipeline Rupture Cause Comparison

Figure 2.10 - Pipeline Rupture Cause Comparison

To facilitate a more representative comparison between organizations with different reporting criteria, ruptures caused by metal loss and cracking, as defined by CSA Z662, have been combined and compared to ruptures caused by corrosion. Ruptures brought on by natural causes were compared with geotechnical and other causes. In contrast to the NEB, the leading cause of ruptures reported in other jurisdictions is external interference. Because of differences in pipeline purpose (i.e., gathering, transmission, distribution), exact comparisons are difficult, which may account for differences in reported rupture or failure modes. The density of the ERCB-regulated pipeline network coupled with high levels of construction in the Alberta oil and gas sector may account for higher external interference rates in Alberta.

2.6 Pipeline Unauthorized Activities in Rights of Way

Unauthorized activities reported under the NEB Pipeline Crossing Regulations (Part I and Part II) include actions that have the potential to damage a pipeline or that may impede access to a pipeline for the purposes of maintenance or emergency response. As noted previously external interference is a leading cause of ruptures in many jurisdictions.

Unauthorized activities or events considered to be indicators related to pipeline integrity include:

  • Movement of vehicles or equipment over pipelines;
  • Construction activities with no soil disturbance;
  • Construction, landscaping, or grading that results in soil disturbance; and
  • Construction, landscaping, or grading that results in pipeline contact.

The total number of unauthorized activities in rights of way between 2005 and 2007 had stabilized at approximately 70 per year; however this number increased in 2008 to 126. This is significantly greater than the nine-year average of 61 per year shown in Table 2.3. Note that increasing urban encroachment on pipeline rights of way is a growing concern and may result in an increased number of unauthorized activities along rights of way.

Table 2.3 - Unauthorized Activities on NEB-Regulated Pipeline Rights of Way

Table 2.3 - Unauthorized Activities on NEB-Regulated Pipeline Rights of Way
Year Activities With No Soil Disturbance Actvities With Soil Disturbance Pipeline Contacts Total
Landowner Contrac-
tor
Landowner Contrac-
tor
Landowner Contrac-
tor
2000 5 0 12 26 0 2 45
2001 7 0 14 27 1 0 49
2002 2 0 7 13 0 1 23
2003 9 4 7 30 2 0 52
2004 4 2 12 33 1 1 53
2005 11 2 20 37 0 1 71
2006 6 4 23 32 0 1 66
2007 8 9 28 21 0 2 68
2008 7 3 65 51 0 0 126
Average 6.6 2.7 20.9 30.0 0.4 0.9 61.4

The number of pipeline contacts remains consistently low, ranging from one to two per year. In 2008, there were no reported unauthorized pipeline contacts. Overall contacts constitute less than 5 percent of the total number of unauthorized activities.

3. Pipeline Environmental Performance

Boring machineNEB regulated companies are required to develop environmental emergency response programs addressing potential upset conditions on their systems. These programs would take into consideration the magnitude of facilities and activities that could potentially be impacted during a liquid hydrocarbon release. A release of this nature has the potential to affect human health, harm wildlife, aquatic life and vegetation as well as affect surface and groundwater quality by contaminating these water supplies for present and future uses.

As a performance indicator, any pipeline failure (including ruptures and leaks) resulting in a release of liquid having a volume greater than 1.5 m³ (1 500 L) must be reported pursuant to the NEB OPR-99; however, data regarding liquid releases of volumes less than 1.5 m³ were requested from NEB-regulated companies under the SPI initiative.

In the case of a spill, leak or major release, the Board's role is to ensure that the companies responsible conduct Phase I, II and III Environmental Site Assessments and provide a Remedial Action Plan for cleanup of contamination at the spill site and eventual restoration to original or equivalent capability. The NEB continues to monitor situations where remediation of soil, surface water or groundwater contamination is ongoing.

3.1 Liquid Pipeline Pipebody Releases

Pipebody releases describe any leak which originates from the body of the pipe including cracks and pinholes. Pipebody liquid releases reportable under NEB OPR-99 are shown in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 - Pipebody Liquid Releases

Table 3.1 - Pipebody Liquid Releases
Year Number of Liquid
Pipe Body Releases
>1.5 m³
Volume of Liquid
Pipe Body Releases
(m³)
2000 0 0
2001 2 3 650
2002 2 52
2003 0 0
2004 0 0
2005 2 254
2006 4 39
2007 4 1 182
2008 0 0

NEB-regulated pipelines experienced very few pipebody liquid releases between 2000 and 2008. As highlighted in Table 3.1, there were no liquid releases in 2000, 2003, 2004 or 2008 from NEB-regulated pipelines. Overall, NEB-regulated liquid pipelines have a nine year average of 0.1 pipebody liquid releases per 1 000 kilometres or one release per 10 000 kilometres of pipe. However there were four liquid pipebody releases in 2007, two of which released significant volumes of hydrocarbon. One release affected a marine environment and public property. The release site has been cleaned up and immediate risks to the public and the environment removed. In addition, the Board is monitoring the ongoing remediation and company management of residual contamination. The second release occurred in a prairie wetland and the contaminated area has been remediated to NEB standards at this site as well.

3.2 Liquid Release Frequency Comparisons

The liquid release frequency for NEB-regulated liquid pipelines was compared to that of reference organizations in Figure 3.1. It is important to consider that the reporting criteria for liquid releases may vary slightly from organization to organization as shown in Table 3.2. In an effort to make the comparison more meaningful, data from PHMSA and CONCAWE have been sorted to consider only incidents which meet NEB reporting criteria.

Figure 3.1 - Pipebody Liquid Release Frequency

Figure 3.1 - Pipebody Liquid Release Frequency

NEB-regulated pipelines have had fewer pipebody liquid releases than in other jurisdictions in every year prior to 2006. This may be due, in part, to the higher frequency of pipeline contacts by third parties experienced by PHMSA. In 2008, NEB-regulated companies did not report any pipebody liquid releases. CONCAWE data is not yet available for the 2008 calendar year.

Table 3.2 - Liquid Release Reporting Criteria

Table 3.2 - Liquid Release Reporting Criteria
Organization Liquid Release Reporting Requirements
NEB Any unintended or uncontained release of liquid hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 cubic metres.
PHMSA Loss of 8 or more cubic metres or where property damage costs exceed $50,000 USD, or after 7 February 2002: a release of 5 gallons (19 litres) or more.
CONCAWE The minimum spill size has been set at 1 m³ for reporting purposes unless there are exceptional serious safety/environmental consequences as a result of a 1 m³ spill.

3.3 Liquid Release Volume Comparisons

A single large rupture or break can have a significant impact on the liquid release volume performance indicator. This is particularly evident in Figure 3.2 where in 2001, large events caused this indicator's upper range to be in excess of 200 m³ per 1 000 km of liquid pipelines. As previously mentioned, NEB facilities had two major releases from ruptures that increased the reported volume for 2007. Again note that CONCAWE data is not yet available for 2008.

Figure 3.2 - Pipebody Liquid Release Volume

Figure 3.2 - Pipebody Release Volume

3.4 Operational Liquid Leaks

Operational leaks on liquid pipelines are hydrocarbon product leaks associated with pipeline operations and which originate from pipeline components such as flanges, valves, pumps or storage tanks. These leaks are usually contained within fenced pipeline facilities (as well as secondary containment when required) and exclude leaks from pipebodies. Most of these leaks are less than 1.5 m³ in volume as shown in Table 3.3.

Table 3.3 - Pipeline Operational Leaks

Table 3.3 - Pipeline Operational Leaks
Year Number
of Leaks
(≤1.5 m³)
Number
of Leaks
(>1.5 m³)
Total
Number
of Leaks
Total Leak
Volume
(m³)
2000 42 2 44 102
2001 15 4 19 279
2002 38 9 47 1 184
2003 43 1 44 13
2004 57 5 62 34
2005 48 3 51 1 269
2006 25 7 32 322
2007 26 4 30 129
2008 25 6 31 186

A large liquid leak (1 075 m³) occurred in 2002 at a pump station and a large leak (950 m³) occurred in 2005 at an oil terminal. This resulted in a high total leak volume for those years. On average, approximately 40 leaks per year are reported on NEB-regulated pipeline systems. Much like pipebody releases, a single large leak from pipeline components can have a significant impact on total annual leak volume. No reference organizations publish a liquid leak frequency comparable to that of the NEB.

The frequency of liquid leaks from non-pipebody sources has a nine year average of approximately three leaks per 1 000 km of pipeline. Figure 3.3 shows that the frequency in 2008 has remained consistent with values reported in 2006 and 2007.

Figure 3.3 - Pipeline Operational Liquid Leak Frequency

Figure 3.3 - Pipeline Operational Liquid Leak Frequency

3.5 Non-Pipeline Liquid Spills

Liquid spills are associated with pipeline construction, maintenance and operations on both liquid and gas pipelines. These spills include small volumes of hydraulic oil, lubrication oil, valve operator fluids or equipment fuels, but exclude product leaks from liquid pipeline systems. The number and volume of these spills are shown in Table 3.4.

Table 3.4 - Non-Pipeline Liquid Spills

Table 3.4 - Non-Pipeline Liquid Spills
Year Number
of Spills
(≤1.5 m³)
Number
of Spills
(>1.5 m³)
Total
Number
of Spills
Total Spill
Volume
(m³)
2000 227 0 227 16
2001 28 1 29 3
2002 25 0 25 2
2003 48 1 49 5
2004 64 1 65 4
2005 47 1 48 12
2006 125 0 125 3
2007 36 0 36 2
2008 16 3 19 15

High levels of construction activity in 2000 resulted in a significant number of reported spills. Overall, the average volume per spill is small, with the nine year average being 0.2 m³ per spill. The number of spills was lower than average for 2008 with only 19 spills; however, reported volume saw an increase to 15 m³.

3.6 Gas Releases and Operational Gas Leaks

Gas releases are the result of pipebody failures and include both ruptures and leaks. Operational gas leaks occur through equipment, including venting from valves and seepage at flanges through gaskets.

Table 3.5 - Pipeline Gas Releases and Leaks

Table 3.5 - Pipeline Gas Releases and Leaks
Year Pipe Body
Gas Releases
Operational Pipeline
Gas Leaks
2000 1 24
2001 1 23
2002 2 11
2003 0 11
2004 4 19
2005 4 18
2006 1 22
2007 3 58
2008 6 30

The data presented in Table 3.6 does not include the intentional release of gas such as planned blowdowns. All unplanned, unintended or uncontrolled gas leaks from NEB-regulated pipelines must be reported as there is no minimum reportable volume.

Table 3.6 - Gas Release Reporting Criteria

Table 3.6 - Gas Release Reporting Criteria
Organization Gas Release Reporting Requirements
NEB Any unintended or uncontrolled release of natural gas.
EGIG Any unintentional release of gas which occurs on an onshore pipeline operating at greater than 1500 kPa outside of the fenced boundaries of installations and excluding all components except the pipe.

3.7 Gas Release Frequency Comparison

A comparison is made between the frequency of gas releases from NEB-regulated gas pipelines and EGIG regulated gas pipelines in Figure 3.4. The gas release reporting criteria for EGIG and the NEB are summarized in Table 3.5. Note that EGIG data is not yet available for 2008.

Figure 3.4 - Pipebody Gas Release Frequency

Figure 3.4 - Pipebody Gas Release Frequency

The nine-year average of the gas pipeline release frequency for NEB-regulated pipelines was approximately 0.09 releases per 1 000 km or approximately one gas release per 11 000 km. NEB gas release frequencies were lower than the EGIG frequencies until 2007. The NEB-regulated pipeline release frequency for 2008 was 0.24 per 1 000 km, a two-fold increase over the previous year.

3.8 Operational Gas Leak Frequency

As with liquid leaks, an operational gas leak is any product leak associated with pipeline operations and which originates from pipeline components such as flanges, valves, compressors or storage tanks. At a frequency of approximately 1.2 leaks per 1 000 km, operational gas leaks on NEB-regulated gas pipelines occur about five times more often than pipebody gas releases.

Due to the differences in reporting requirements for gas leaks between the NEB and other agencies, no comparison is made for operational leaks. The frequency of operational gas leaks on NEB-regulated gas pipelines is shown in Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5 - Operation Gas Leak Frequency

Figure 3.5 - Operational Gas Leak Frequency

4. NEB-Regulated Pipeline Performance Indicator Summary

In summary, reporting by pipeline companies for 2008 showed that several performance indicators have improved since 2007 Table 4.1 shows a summary of the previous two years of performance indicators. In particular, injury frequencies for both contractors and employees have seen a marked decrease in 2008, returning to levels comparable to those reported in 2005 and 2006. However, two fatalities reported in 2008 are a cause for major concern.

Table 4.1 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Performance Indicator Summary

Table 4.1 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Performance Indicator Summary
Performance Indicator 2007 2008 Historical
Average
2000-2008
Number of Fatalities
(employee, contractor and third party)
0 2 0.0
Worker Injury Frequency
(injuries per 200 000 hours)
1.9 1.0 1.1
Contractor Injury Frequency
(injuries per 200 000 hours)
2.3 1.2 2.2
Employee Injury Frequency
(injuries per 200 000 hours)
1.5 0.7 0.7
Liquid Pipeline Worker Injury Frequency
(injuries per 200 000 hours)
1.6 1.4 1.5
Gas Pipeline Worker Injury Frequency
(injuries per 200 000 hours)
2.2 0.6 1.1
Total Number of Pipeline Ruptures 2 0.0 1.0
Total Number of Pipeline Contacts 2 0.0 1.5
Pipe Body Liquid Release Frequency
(liquid releases per 1 000 km)
0.3 0.0 0.1
Pipe Body Liquid Release Volume Frequency
(m³ of liquid released per 1 000 km)
82.3 0.0 41.5
Number of Operational Liquid Leaks 30 31 41.1
Operational Liquid Leak Frequency
(number of leaks per 1 000 km)
2.1 2 2.8
Pipe Body Gas Release Frequency
(number of gas releases per 1 000 km gas pipelines)
0.1 0.2 0.1
Number of Operational Gas Leaks
(on gas pipelines)
58 30 23.3
Operational Gas Leak Frequency
(number of leaks per 1 000 km gas pipelines)
2.2 1.2 0.9
Number of Non-pipeline Spills
(construction and maintenance liquid spills)
36 19 75.5
Total Number of Incidents
(reportable under the OPR-99)
49 56 40.9

From an environmental protection perspective, no pipebody liquid releases were reported and the number of non-pipeline spills and liquid leaks remained stable.

5. Looking Ahead

Protecting the environment and the safety of the public and the people who build and operate pipelines is of paramount importance to the NEB. Injury frequencies, incident trends and other indicators help the NEB to identify where improvement is needed.

In 2009, the NEB took over jurisdiction of TransCanada's Nova Gas Transmission system, resulting in a 50 per cent increase in the overall length of pipeline under the Board's jurisdiction. In order to ensure that this extensive system meets federal safety legislation, a third-party audit and a series of safety inspections to assess levels of compliance were carried out. Also in 2009, three ruptures were reported on NEB-regulated pipelines, these ruptures are currently under active investigation.

Due to the Board's ongoing concern about major incidents and incident frequencies along its regulated pipeline an initiative has been launched to approach incidents from a management systems perspective and to work to ensure that possible systemic issues are dealt with proactively.

The Board is committed to finding ways to improve the safety performance of the pipeline industry. The NEB's goal is to reduce the number of incidents and injuries to as low a level as possible. In 2008, the NEB continued to employ a risk-based approach to determine the degree of regulatory oversight required for its regulated companies. This approach allows the NEB to focus compliance resources on companies that will benefit the most from regulatory oversight; as a result, NEB staff conducted 239 compliance activities in 2009.

In May 2009, the NEB held a public forum to address a wide variety of topics ranging from regulatory reform to pipeline safety. The forum included a panel discussion on pipeline safety with representatives from contractors, industry and pipeline regulators. This is one example of the ongoing dialogue on safety that the NEB conducts with industry. For more information, on current safety performance indicators, please click on "Safety Performance Indicators" under the safety tab on the National Energy Board website.

Continuous improvement will ensure that pipelines remain the safest mode of energy transportation in Canada. The safety of the facilities, the men and women who build and operate them and the public is, and will remain, the Board's primary goal.

Appendix One - Pipeline Performance Indicator Data

Performance Indicator data for the period 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2008 was submitted voluntarily to the NEB from companies owning or operating approximately 87% of the total length of pipelines regulated by the NEB under the National Energy Board Act. Companies typically as provided by respondents, report on all NEB-regulated pipelines systems that they own. The following tables provide raw data from those companies that reported on pipeline length worker hours and injuries. In addition, reference organization data on pipeline lengths and injury frequency is listed here.

Table A1.1 - Companies Reporting Performance Indicator Data for 2008

Table A1.1 - Companies Reporting Performance Indicator Data for 2008
Alliance Pipeline Ltd.
AltaGas Ltd.
ATCO Midstream
BP Canada Energy Company
Canadian-Montana Pipe Line Corporation
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc.
Enbridge Pipelines (Westspur) Inc.
Enbridge Pipelines Inc.
EnCana Corporation
Enerplus Resources Fund
Harvest Operations Corp.
Kaiser Exploration Ltd.
Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.
Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC
Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline
Montreal Pipe Line Limited
Nexen Inc.
Penn West Petroleum Ltd.
Spectra Energy Transmission
St. Clair Pipelines Management Inc.
TransCanada PipeLines Limited
Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc.
Union Gas Limited
Vector Pipeline Limited Partnership

Table A1.2 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Lengths

Table A1.2 - NEB-Regulated Pipeline Lengths
Year Number of Kilometres
Reported Under
Voluntary Initiative
Total
Kilometres
Regulated
2000 39 193 42 919
2001 42 674 42 968
2002 41 555 43 124
2003 42 189 43 252
2004 41 386 43 371
2005 41 270 43 440
2006 41 454 43 530
2007 40 642 43 734
2008 40 760 46 732

Table A1.3 - Pipeline Contractor and Employee Injury Frequency Raw Data

Table A1.3 - Pipeline Contractor and Employee Injury Frequency Raw Data
Year Contractor
Hours
Employee
Hours
Contractor
Injuries
Employee
Injuries
2000 6 255 390 7 034 954 55 6
2001 1 606 271 4 827 678 40 18
2002 1 357 577 5 103 983 13 4
2003 788 466 4 869 253 12 16
2004 1 573 743 4 722 044 9 12
2005 1 218 350 4 925 620 7 15
2006 2 140 650 3 811 330 28 29
2007 2 918 420 2 850 195 33 22
2008 12 432 795 6 745 368 72 23

Table A1.4 - Gas and Liquid Pipeline Worker Hours

Table A1.4 - Gas and Liquid Pipeline Worker Hours
Year Liquid Pipeline Gas Pipeline Total
2000 1 124 735 12 165 609 13 290 344
2001 1 808 947 4 625 003 6 433 950
2002 1 822 637 4 638 923 6 461 560
2003 1 655 670 4 002 049 5 657 719
2004 1 615 406 4 680 381 6 295 787
2005 1 398 649 4 745 321 6 143 969
2006 1 625 244 4 326 736 5 951 979
2007 2 707 357 3 061 257 5 768 614
2008 9 949 629 9 228 533 19 178 162

Table A1.5 - Reference Organization Pipeline Lengths

Table A1.5 - Reference Organization Pipeline Lengths
Year Organization Kilometres
of Gas
Pipeline
Kilometres
of Hydrocarbon
Liquid Pipeline
Total
Reported
Kilometres
2000 NEB 25974 13219 39193
2000 PHMSA 469946 257440 727386
2000 CONCAWE 0 30800 30800
2000 EGIG 110236 0 110236
2000 EUB 229034 16410 245444
         
2001 NEB 26509 16165 42674
2001 PHMSA 455862 255437 711299
2001 CONCAWE 0 35575 35575
2001 EGIG 110236 0 110236
2001 EUB 245466 16818 262284
         
2002 NEB 26752 14803 41555
2002 PHMSA 475538 258672 734210
2002 CONCAWE 0 35592 35592
2002 EGIG 109524 0 109524
2002 EUB 255032 17118 272150
         
2003 NEB 26943 15245 42189
2003 PHMSA 472877 255219 728096
2003 CONCAWE 0 36422 36422
2003 EGIG 114285 0 114285
2003 EUB 268549 17391 285940
         
2004 NEB 26374 15012 41386
2004 PHMSA 431965 253411 685376
2004 CONCAWE 0 35383 35383
2004 EGIG 122168 0 122168
2004 EUB 288388 17793 306181
         
2005 NEB 27002 14269 41270
2005 PHMSA 471693 252606 724299
2005 CONCAWE 0 34826 34826
2005 EGIG 122500 0 122500
2005 EUB 305274 18260 323534
         
2006 NEB 25888 15566 41454
2006 PHMSA 469990 252379 722370
2006 CONCAWE 0 35390 35390
2006 EGIG 125000 0 125000
2006 EUB 321944 18142 340086
         
2007 NEB 26275 14368 40642
2007 PHMSA 471918 258850 730768
2007 CONCAWE 0 34700 34700
2007 EGIG 129719 0 129719
2007 EUB 331891 18568 350459
         
2008 NEB 25046 15715 40760
2008 PHMSA 472314 263003 735317
2008 CONCAWE not available not available not available
2008 EGIG not available not available not available
2008 EUB not available not available not available

Table A1.6 - Reference Organization Injury Frequency Data

Table A1.6 - Reference Organization Injury Frequency Data
Year Source* Contractor
Injury
Frequency
Employee
Injury
Frequency
Worker
Injury
Frequency
2000 NEB 1.76 0.17 0.92
2000 HRSDC not available 0.51 not available
2000 CAPP 3.13 1.05 2.49
         
2001 NEB 4.98 0.75 1.80
2001 HRSDC not available 0.56 not available
2001 CAPP 2.61 0.89 2.06
         
2002 NEB 1.92 0.16 0.53
2002 HRSDC not available 0.30 not available
2002 CAPP 1.86 1.02 1.64
         
2003 NEB 3.04 0.66 0.99
2003 HRSDC not available 0.33 not available
2003 CAPP 2.15 1.34 1.80
         
2004 NEB 1.14 0.51 0.67
2004 HRSDC not available 0.42 not available
2004 CAPP 1.90 1.00 1.64
         
2005 NEB 1.15 0.61 0.72
2005 HRSDC not available 0.32 not available
2005 CAPP 1.74 0.95 1.52
         
2006 NEB 1.59 1.52 1.55
2006 HRSDC not available 0.34 not available
2006 CAPP 1.74 0.83 1.48
         
2007 NEB 2.26 1.54 1.91
2007 HRSDC not available 0.32 not available
2007 CAPP 1.31 0.80 1.15
         
2008 NEB 1.16 0.68 0.99
2008 HRSDC not available not available not available
2008 CAPP 1.25 0.64 1.08
* CAPP data is for Total Recordable Injury Frequency and includes fatalities and medical treatment cases, which are not included in the NE B data.

Data Sources

2009 CAPP Stewardship Report, published by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producer in January 2010.

Performance of European cross-country oil pipelines - Statistical summary of reported spillages in 2007 since 1971, CONCAWE Report no. 10/09, published November 2009.

7th EGIG Report, 1970-2007 Gas Pipeline Incidents, Document No. EGIG 08.TV-B.0502 published in December 2008.

ERCB Provincial Surveillance and Compliance Summary 2007, ST99-2008, published June 2008.

Occupational Injuries Among Canadian Employers Under Federal Jurisdiction, 2002-2007. Published by HRSDC.

All PHMSA data retrieved from data files available on http://phmsa.dot.gov.

Information provided annually to the NEB through the Safety Performance Indicators Initiative.

Left: Nine sidebooms; Middle: Two birds in a nest; Right: Pipeline being buried
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