Enbridge Northern Gateway has issued a detailed reply to the criticism of its operations contained in a preliminary report from the US National Transportation Safety Board to the 2010 oil spill at Marshall, Michigan, which called the company’s response like the silent movie era “Keystone cops.”
The note from Michele Parrett, Senior Manager, Community and Municipal Relations for Northern Gateway was sent to members of the District of Kitimat Council and presumably other politicians and community leaders along the proposed pipeline route.
The document was among those routinely released to the public at the regular council meeting on Monday, July 16, 2012 and is a much more detailed defence of Enbridge’s position than the news release issued after the NTSB report.
In the e-mail, Enbridge says it has updated its safety and response procedures and its corporate culture since the Michigan incident.
Despite widespread criticism of Enbridge from all sides of the political spectrum, that NTSB report does not seem to have had any impact on federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, who told The Canadian Press had had not yet read the NTSB report. Kent also said that unread report will not change the Conservative government’s mind about the Northern Gateway pipeline project, adding “Pipelines are still, by far, the safest way to transport petrochemicals in any form.”
Overview of NTSB Report into Line 6B incident at Marshall, Michigan
July 12, 2012
Dear Community Leader,
I’m writing you today to provide information regarding the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) release of its conclusions and recommendations yesterday, with regard to the Enbridge pipeline leak in Marshall, Michigan in July 2010.
Enbridge has not been waiting for the NTSB’s report before furthering to improve our safety standards. Since the incident we have undertaken our own internal investigation and incorporated the findings of that investigation into new practices and processes to improve our safety and reliability.
Enbridge and Enbridge Energy Partners has been working with the NTSB and other regulators throughout the course of the investigation so that we can take the necessary steps to prevent such an accident from occurring again. We are now reviewing the NTSB reports in detail to determine whether any further changes are required.
Enbridge has already implemented, in 2010 and 2011, appropriate operational and procedural changes based on its own detailed internal investigation. Enbridge’s overarching objective and business priority is to ensure the safety and reliability of our delivery systems for the people who live and work near our pipeline systems across North America, our employees and our customers.
In direct response to the Marshall accident, or as part of our ongoing improvement initiatives and activities, Enbridge has taken the following steps:
Pipeline and Facility Integrity
· Further heightened the importance of our pipeline and facility integrity program.
· Re-organized the functional areas that are responsible for pipeline and facility integrity.
· Substantially increased capital and operating budgets associated with maintenance and integrity programs.
· Undertook hundreds of internal inspections and thousands of investigative digs.
· Placed a renewed emphasis on the safety of our overall system.
· Established the Pipeline Control Systems and Leak Detection department, doubling the number of employees and contractors dedicated to leak detection and pipeline control.
· Enhanced procedures for leak detection analysis.
· Updated control room management procedures.
· Implemented a Leak Detection Instrumentation Improvement Program to add and upgrade instrumentation across our system.
Pipeline Control and Control Centre Operations (CCO)
· Developed a Control Room Management (CRM) plan based on the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and implemented a number of the sections, October 1, 2011, remaining sections implemented by August 1, 2012.
· Revised and enhanced all procedures pertaining to decision making, handling pipeline start-ups and shutdowns, leak detection system alarms, communication protocols, and suspected column separations.
· Changed organizational structures to better align, focus and manage employees’ span of control and workloads.
· Augmented CCO (Control Centre Operations) staff, adding training, engineering and operator positions.
· We also completed the design and construction of a new, world-class CCO in Edmonton, Alberta which was underway at the time of the accident.
· Reviewed and strengthened Public Awareness Programs in the U.S. and Canada.
· Developing an industry-leading online and in-person training tool to provide Enbridge-specific information to emergency responders.
· In the U.S, we:
o Formalized the U.S. Public Awareness Committee.
o Improved the Program Effectiveness Evaluation process.
o Provided annual employee training for field employees across the company’s U.S. operations.
o Created a Public Awareness Hotline.
· In Canada, we:
o Formalized the Canadian Public Awareness Committee.
o Are creating a Canadian Public Awareness Database.
o Improved the landowner/tenant database.
o Developed a landowner newsletter.
o Established Community Relations positions in each region.
· $50 million spent between 2012 and 2013 (projected) to improve our equipment, training and capabilities.
· Develop better tools for waterborne spills.
· In 2011, a cross-business unit response team was created for large-scale events requiring more resources that a single region could provide.
· In 2011, created a dedicated Emergency Response group in Operation Services for increased regional support.
· Conducting an Emergency Response preparedness assessment to enhance abilities to more rapidly respond and contain a significant release.
· Reinforced a high level of safety and operational integrity across Enbridge in integrity management, third-party damage avoidance and detection, leak detection, incident response capacity, worker and contractor occupational safety, public safety and environmental protection.
· Implemented “Lifesaving Rules” and training for all Enbridge employees and contractors. The Lifesaving Rules are applicable to all employees and contractors, and are communicated, clarified and reinforced across all business units at Enbridge.
· Introduced new Safety Culture training sessions for all employees.
Over the past two years we have made significant improvements in the above areas. The NTSB’s findings will provide us with regulatory guidance and important information to help improve our performance and achieve our goal of zero spills.
We remain committed to a respectful, open and transparent review and discussion of the Northern Gateway Project. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of the Northern Gateway team at the information provided below.
Senior Manager, Community and Municipal Relations
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines