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UPDATE: Enbridge takes action after NEB inspection concerns

Russell Hixson
UPDATE: Enbridge takes action after NEB inspection concerns

Enbridge is eager to get back on track after the National Energy Board (NEB) issued three orders to Spectra Energy, an Enbridge subsidiary, at its High Pine Expansion Project citing several issues with the site.

The three Inspection Officer Orders were issued in September and August to Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission, for the company’s failure to adhere to worker safety, pipe handling and environmental protection requirements during construction activity on the project, which is located near Chetwynd, B.C.

According to the NEB, officers conducting field inspections noticed crews had failed to construct bridges over watercourses according to specifications. They also observed a failure to protect Riparian Management Areas, which are environmentally-sensitive areas that occur next to the banks of streams, lakes and wetlands, from disturbance as well as inadequate sediment and erosion control measures at all watercourse crossings.

The NEB instructed the company to complete 27 specific measures to improve worker safety and environmental protection. This includes investigating unsafe pipe handling activities, assessing the adequacy of the project’s oversight and immediately halting travel on all bridges and ramps that span two watercourses. The company must also submit, for NEB review, company action plans to address management of construction activities.

"At Enbridge, safety and the protection of the environment are our top priorities," said Jesse Semko, communications advisor for the company in an email to the Journal of Commerce. "Enbridge is diligently complying with the requirements identified by the National Energy Board associated with the High Pine Expansion Project in northeastern British Columbia. We take these issues very seriously and have already addressed all the site-specific concerns identified during the NEB inspections conducted in August."

Semko also said the company voluntarily shut down work on the project to address the remaining issue with employees and construction contractors that was identified in a September inspection.

"We are also developing a corrective action plan that will be implemented by September 26," said Semko. "We take full responsibility to remain in compliance and are taking decisive action to address the NEB’s concerns."

In a release, the NEB noted that the new pipeline poses no immediate environmental or public safety concerns.

The project involves adding two segments of 42-inch pipeline along a portion of its existing natural gas transmission system in northeastern British Columbia.

These new sections of pipeline, known as loops, will largely parallel the existing pipeline right-of-way.

The first loop segment will start at an existing meter station, located approximately 30 kilometres northwest of Wonowon. The loop will head south for approximately nine kilometres.

The second loop segment will start approximately nine kilometres south of Dinosaur Lake and continue south approximately 29 kilometres to Station 2. Work is expected to conclude later this year.

In addition to the new pipeline loops, new compression and compressor station modifications will be made along the system to accommodate an increased gas flow of approximately 240 million cubic feet per day.

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