Energy minister calls for pipeline safety review
Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes announced a pipeline safety review during a press conference held last Friday.
The announcement comes after groups like Greenpeace Canada and the Alberta Surface Rights Group mounted a campaign calling for an independent pipeline review in the wake of pipeline spills in June. Those spills include one in early June which saw a reported 3,000 barrels of light sour crude oil released into the Red Deer River near Sundre and make its way into the Gleniffer Lake reservoir.
Hughes said he’s asking the Energy Resources Conservation Board to work with another independent party to conduct a review focusing on three areas. Those areas are how pipeline integrity is managed, the safety aspects of water crossings and spill response plans and protocols.
“I will make this report public,” Hughes said. He said he could not reveal the independent group that would help with the review yet.
Hughes said he’d met with industry leaders earlier in the week which included a candid conversation about “upping our game” when it comes to pipeline safety.
“Pipelines remain the best and safest way to move our products to market,” Hughes said.
Hughes, who has had the energy portfolio for two-and-a-half months, said he feels the report is “timely and important to Alberta.”
While he couldn’t give an exact timeline for when the review would be completed, Hughes said the government wouldn’t be waiting long.
“This is not a two-year study. We’re talking months,” Hughes said.
Hughes said he’d welcome involvement from environmental groups.
“I have no problem hearing from environmental groups at all. We’re all a part of this,” Hughes said.
This review is an opportunity to make sure Alberta continues to be a leader in energy safety, Hughes said. While he hopes the review finds many things are performing well, he expects not everything will be perfect, Hughes said, and he wants recommendations that will help show continuous improvement.
“This is about bringing our industry to a high level of performance,” Hughes said. “We have to set the bar exceedingly high in Alberta.”