ARCHIVED - Safety and Environmental Performance Dashboard - December 2013

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The safety of Canadians and protection of the environment in the construction, operation and abandonment of pipeline facilities regulated by the NEB are the Board’s top priorities, and have been a part of our mandate since 1959. We hold those we regulate accountable so that the safety of Canadians and the environment is protected.

In 2013, the NEB regulated approximately 73,000[1] kilometres of interprovincial and international pipelines. See a map of the NEB’s regulated pipelines. The safety and environmental performance data and information that follows relates to the NEB’s regulated pipelines.

[1] Total kms include pipeline that is approved, under construction, operational, deactivated, decommissioned, and pending abandonment.

Pipeline Incidents

Under the National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR), companies must immediately notify the National Energy Board (NEB) of any incident that relates to the construction, operation or abandonment of a pipeline.

Incident means an occurrence that results in:

  • the death of or serious injury to a person;
  • a significant adverse effect on the environment (referred to below as significant adverse effects);
  • an unintended fire or explosion;
  • an unintended or uncontained release of low vapour pressure hydrocarbons (referred to below as Liquid releases) in excess of 1.5 m³;
  • an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas or high vapour pressure hydrocarbons (referred to below as Gas releases); and,
  • the operation of a pipeline beyond its design limits (OBDL).

To enhance the analysis of the reportable incident data, the NEB has separated serious injuries incidents from fatalities, and unintended fires from unintended explosions.

Figure 1: Number of Incidents, 2009-2013

Figure 1: Number of Incidents 2009-2013
Figure 1: Details
  • Figure 1 shows the number of reportable incidents over the past 5 years. In 2013, there were 97 reportable incidents, down from the 134 incidents in 2012.
Table 1: Number of Incidents, 2009-2013
Year Total Number of Reportable Incidents
2009 89
2010 106
2011 101
2012 134
2013 97

Figure 2: Number of Incidents by Type, 2012 vs. 2013

Figure 2: Number of Incidents by Type, 2012 vs. 2013
Figure 2: Details
  • Incident numbers for most categories declined from 2012 to 2013 although there were increases in three categories:
    • fatalities rose from 0 to 1;
    • liquid releases (crude oil, condensate, refined products, produced water, etc.) increased from 2 to 9; and,
    • operation beyond design limits incidents went up from 10 to 15.
  • Most reportable incidents do not result in threats to the safety of people or the environment.
Table 2: Number of Incidents by Type, 2012 vs. 2013
Year Gas Releases Fires Explosions Serious Injuries Significant Adverse Effects Fatalities Liquid Releases OBDL
2012 70 39 5 6 2 0 2 10
2013 56 14 0 2 0 1 9 15

Figure 3: Number of Serious Injuries, 2009-2013

Figure 3: Number of Serious Injuries 2009-2013
Figure 3: Details
  • Serious Injuries are down in 2013 from 2012.
  • Of the two incidents in 2013, one was due to burns suffered from the ignition of gas and the other was due to a vehicle rollover.
  • Since 2009, the leading causes of serious injuries are equipment failures and the combination of more than one cause (e.g. lapses in training, not following procedures and equipment failures).
  • The most common type of serious injury observed from 2009-2013 was fractures, followed by a combination of more than one injury type (e.g. multiple fractures, sprains, joint separations, loss of consciousness, etc.).
Table 3: Number of Serious Injuries, 2009-2013
Year Serious Injuries
2009 7
2010  
2011 1
2012 6
2013 2

Figure 4: Number of Fatalities, 2009-2013

Figure 4: Number of Fatalities, 2009-2013
Figure 4: Details
  • Since 2009 there have been 4 fatalities on NEB-regulated pipelines.
  • Three fatalities relate to vehicle accidents. NEB Program Managers have confirmed that companies are aware that driving is a high-hazard activity and are focusing their training to ensure people get home safely as part of the Safety Culture movement.
  • The fatality involving the operation of equipment related to the operation of a riding lawnmower.
Table 4: Number of Fatalities, 2009-2013
Year Vehicle Accident Operation of Equipment
2009    
2010    
2011 2 1
2012    
2013 1  

Figure 5: Number of Operation Beyond Design Limits Incidents, 2009-2013

Figure 5: Number of Operation Beyond Design Limits Incidents, 2009-2013
Figure 5: Details
  • Since 2009 there have been 61 reportable OBDL incidents.
  • Approximately 75% of these incidents were due to overpressures (an overpressure occurs when the pipeline exceeds the maximum operating pressure the pipeline was designed for or exceeds any operating pressure imposed by the Board).
  • The Board has issued a Safety Order related to some of these overpressures.
  • 12 of the 15 incidents in 2013 were overpressures, 2 involved the introduction of an inappropriate product into a pipeline and one was due to slope movement causing movement in the pipeline beyond design limits.
Table 5: Number of Operation Beyond Design Limits Incidents, 2009-2013
Year Total
2009 10
2010 20
2011 6
2012 10
2013 15

Figure 6: Number of Fires and Explosions, 2008-2013

Figure 6: Number of Fires and Explosions, 2008-2013
Figure 6: Details
  • There were 14 fires in 2013, down from a peak of 39 in 2012.
  • The leading cause of fires in 2013 was equipment and electrical issues (including electrical shorts and equipment overheating), as well as housekeeping-related issues such as flammable materials being left near heat sources.
  • Some fires have occurred for less complex reasons, but are reportable nonetheless. Examples include a burning cigarette-butt container on one company’s property, fires caused by welding sparks, or natural events such as lightning strikes causing power surges or grass fires.
  • There were no explosions in 2013. However, the 5 explosions reported in 2012 all relate to battery explosions, which typically involve the battery case exploding and the release of battery acid inside a building. These explosions caused no injuries or damage to the environment.
Table 6: Number of Fires and Explosions, 2008-2013
Year Fire Explosion
2008 10  
2009 14 2
2010 13 1
2011 22  
2012 39 5
2013 14  

Figure 7: Total Volumes of Liquids Released Vs. Number of Liquid Releases, 2009-2013

Figure 7: Total Volumes of Liquids Released Vs. Number of Liquid Releases
Figure 7: Details
  • Reportable liquid releases increased in 2013 from 2012, rising from 2 to 9.
  • The NEB separates liquid releases into two categories based on volumes. The first is 1.5 m³ to 100 m³, and any release > 100 m³; there hasn’t been a release > 100 m³ on NEB-regulated pipelines since 2011.
  • Despite the increase in the number of releases, volumes released are down significantly since 2009 (from 495.05 m³ to 28.98 m³, where 1 m³ = 1,000 L).
  • Nearly all volumes released have been fully remediated except those where cleanup is ongoing. It is the Board’s expectation that companies address all impacts associated with a release. Eight of the nine releases that occurred in 2013 remained on company property or the Right-of-Way (RoW).
Table 7: Total Volumes of Liquids Released Vs. Number of Liquid Releases, 2009-2013
Year Total Volume Released (m³) # of Releases
2009 495.05 7
2010 326.50 7
2011 269.00 6
2012 97.44 2
2013 28.98 9

Figure 7(a): On/Off Company Property Liquid Releases by Location, 2009-2013

Figure 7(a): On/Off Company Property Liquid Releases by Location, 2009-2013
Figure 7(a): Details
  • Approximately two-thirds of liquid releases between 2009 and 2013 occurred on company property. This includes compressor stations, meter stations and pump stations. Off company property includes releases on the pipeline RoW and releases off the RoW.
Table 7(a): On/Off Company Property Liquid Releases by Location, 2009-2013
On Company Property Off Company Property
28 3

Figure 8: Number of Natural Gas and Other High Vapour Pressure Releases, 2009-2013

Figure 8: Number of Natural Gas and Other High Vapour Pressure Releases, 2009-2013
Figure 8: Details
  • Releases of natural gas and other high vapour pressure (HVP) products (e.g. propane, butane) decreased from 70 to 56 between 2012 and 2013.
  • Under the OPR there is no minimum volume of natural gas or HVP that must be released to be reportable; all releases no matter how small must be reported.
  • Of the 301 reportable releases since 2009, 275 were sweet natural gas, 11 were sour gas, 1 acid gas and 14 were other HVP releases.
  • The NEB continues to reinforce with companies that no releases are acceptable.
Table 8: Number of Natural Gas and Other High Vapour Pressure Releases, 2009-2013
Year Total
2009 49
2010 63
2011 63
2012 70
2013 56

Please note that ruptures are a type of unintended or uncontrolled liquid or gas release incident. For more detailed information on ruptures, please refer to the Pipeline Ruptures section of the NEB’s website.

Unauthorized Activities

Figure 9: Number of UAs by Province, 2012-2013

Figure 9: Number of UAs by Province, 2012-2013
Figure 9: Details
  • Reported Unauthorized Activities (UAs) are down from 144 UAs in 2012 to 113 UAs in 2013.
  • Half of the UAs reported were in British Columbia, with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec reporting 42% of UAs.
  • UA reporting may be a function of companies’ diligence in reporting, the amount of pipeline in the ground (pipeline density), population density and, type of activity near the pipelines.
Table 9: Number of UAs by Province, 2012-2013
Province 2013 2012
Alberta 16 15
British Columbia 55 62
Manitoba 3 3
New Brunswick 0 1
Nova Scotia 0 1
Ontario 19 30
Quebec 13 31
Saskatchewan 7 1

Figure 10: Number of UAs by Type, 2010-2013

Figure 10: Number of UAs by Type, 2010-2013
Figure 10: Details
  • The NEB observed that ground disturbance (or excavation) activities are consistently the most prevalent type of UA.
Table 10: Number of UAs by Type, 2010-2013
  2010 2011 2012 2013
Ground Disturbance 86 61 122 97
Encroachment 12 7 12 9
Vehicle Crossing 6 4 10 7

Figure 11: Number of UAs by Violator Type, 2010-2013

Figure 11: Number of UAs by Violator Type, 2010-2013
Figure 11: Details
  • The data shows that UAs are most commonly undertaken by contractors, followed by landowners and municipalities.
  • Contractors are responsible for the majority of ground disturbance (or excavation) activities.
Table 11: Number of UAs by Violator Type, 2010-2013
  2010 2011 2012 2013
Contractor 62 41 78 70
Landowner 37 20 51 34
Municipality 4 11 15 9

Figure 12: Number of UAs by First-time Vs. Repeat Violators, 2010-2013

Figure 12: Number of UAs by First-time Vs. Repeat Violators, 2010-2013
Figure 12: Details
  • UAs are grouped as either a low-risk activity (no immediate hazard exists, more than 3 metres from the pipeline) or a high-risk activity (immediate hazard exists, within 3 metres of the pipeline).
  • The majority of reported UAs are from first-time violators and are categorized as low-risk.
  • The majority of reported UAs by repeat violators relate to high-risk activities.
  • The issuance of Inspection Officer Orders and conducting of compliance verification activities on high-risk UAs with multiple repeat offenders has helped reduce the number of ground disturbance UAs in 2013.
Table 12: Number of UAs by First-time Vs. Repeat Violators, 2010-2013
  2010 2011 2012 2013
First Time 91 63 124 99
Repeat 12 9 18 14

Please note: The incident data shown represents a single point in time. As new information becomes available, the incident record is updated and may change certain aspects of the incident record including whether the incident remains reportable under the applicable regulations. Accordingly, the incident data shown is subject to change.

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