NEB officials inspecting Enbridge’s Edmonton control centre

Checking how the facility would handle a major incident like Michigan.

August 9, 2012   by CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON: After US officials criticized staff at Enbridge’s Edmonton control centre, inspectors from the National Energy Board are taking a closer look at how the facility is running.

The inspection comes two years after 20,000 barrels of crude oil spilled in Michigan and while the oil company is seeking approval for the $5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline.

In July, American officials released a scathing report on the spill into the Kalamazoo River, which specifically criticized staff at the company’s Edmonton control centre.
The report said employees “performed like Keystone Kops and failed to recognize their pipeline had ruptured,” all the while continuing to pump crude oil into the environment.

National Energy Board chief engineer Iain Colquhoun says the report sparked the board’s interest.

As a result, a team of inspectors want to see how Enbridge’s new control centre could handle a failure on a similar scale to the one in Michigan.

The new facility opened one year ago.

Enbridge is also still seeking approval for the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, which has been under fire from environmentalists, First Nations and the BC government.

The project, if approved, would move Alberta oil to northern B.C. to be shipped off to foreign markets.

© 2012 The Canadian Press

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