NEB orders pipeline operators to reduce flow of oil & gas

July 4, 2011

Canada's National Energy Board ("NEB") has issued a series of pressure restrictions to five pipelines as part of a broader safety strategy.  Traditionally, the NEB has sparingly enacted measures to reduce the flow of oil and gas, but several major spills in the last year have prompted the preventative response.

Pipeline age has been a factor in the issuance of restrictions, indicating that pre-1970 flash-welded pipe is of greater concern.  Most of the restrictions have required a 20 percent reduction in throughput until operators satisfy certain conditions that include "an engineering assessment that indicates that the pipeline remains fit for its intended service."

Brenda Kenny, Chief Executive of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association ("CEPA") says the scrutiny is welcomed and operators are supportive of strong regulation, but CEPA has not seen any evidence that such reductions are necessary to ensure a high level of safety.

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