Alberta has best regulated pipelines in Canada – engineering review panel

Just short of a year after the government of Alberta tasked Group 10 Engineering with independently reviewing the province's pipeline safety, the results are in: Alberta has the "most thorough overall regulatory regime of all the assessed Canadian jurisdictions."

Not bad, Alberta. 

As Canada's oil and gas epicentre, Alberta has developed a "very mature" and "well established" industry, the reported stated. The panel praised Albertans for their "complete" approach to reporting spills and compiling incident statistics.

The engineers also had something to say Canada as a whole: Harmonize your regulatory and reporting requirements. Also, see what Alberta is doing.

The panel noted inconsistencies and lack of clarity between provincial and federal guidelines and definitions – particularly when it came to defining a body of water.

With no clear understanding of what is and what isn't a body of water, companies may not be properly mitigating risks that come with operating near them.

The review also recommended all of Canada adopt Alberta's 'Call Before You Dig' safety and damage-control law which requires companies to call owners of buried facilities before they start digging.

When it comes to reporting spills and accidents, Alberta does quite well, the panel writes. Within the province "all pipeline failures" are recorded. According to an earlier report by Global News, Alberta has had an average of "two crude oil spills a day, every day for the past 37 years."

One major criticism of the review, as reported by CTV News, was the absence of analysis of enforcement- a factor which a Group 10 engineer told CTV was not meant to to be included.

Another sticking point is the fact that no environmental and other public interest groups were consulted during the drafting of the report. The public can now voice their concerns during a 45-comment period.