ERCB Issues Conditional Approval for the Resumption of Pipeline Operations to Plains Midstream Canada

abarrelfullabarrelfull wrote on 17 Aug 2011 06:47
Tags: alberta canada pipeline plains

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Following a comprehensive review and assessment, and a third-party engineering review of the incident (see attached Background), the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has provided conditional approval to Plains Midstream Canada (Plains) to resume operations of the NPS 20 Rainbow Pipeline following the failure on April 28, 2011.

Plains is responsible for ensuring that the pipeline can be safely operated within all regulatory requirements. Prior to resuming operations, Plains must confirm it has met the following conditions:

  • Completion of work, to readiness for backfill, of all excavated sites inspected as per ERCB’s direction of May 17, 2011 (five priority sites and five additional sites);
  • Implementation of weekly aerial surveillance of the pipeline to monitor for geotechnical hazards;
  • Improved procedures and operations to ensure effective response should another failure occur; and
  • Implementation of a Community Consultation Plan submitted to the ERCB on May 12, 2011, which includes meetings with local stakeholders prior to resumption of operations.

The ERCB requires Plains to submit monthly progress reports and attend monthly meetings with ERCB personnel to ensure effective implementation of conditions of approval and regulatory requirements.

The ERCB also directed Plains that the interim maximum operating pressure of the pipeline will be limited. Operating pressure will be determined subject to ERCB review of pressure values within 30 days of the time of the failure.

The engineering assessments concluded that the April 28, 2011 failure was due to high- stress on an existing crack in a fillet weld that was made on a weld-on sleeve. Plains has committed to excavating and inspecting all sections of the pipeline containing these types of weld-on sleeves on an expedited schedule.

The ERCB continues its official investigation into the incident and will issue a full report at a later date.

A start-up date has not been confirmed.

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