TransCanada’s Nova Gas Transmission suffers pipeline rupture

Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) suffered a rupture on its pipeline system 138 km (85.6 miles) west of Fort McMurray, Alta. TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. owns and operates NGTL. The companies reported the release to Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) early in the morning of Oct. 17. Neither NEB nor TransCanada have yet to determine the release’s size, but reported no immediate safety concern for local residents and said precautions were being taken to ensure continued public safety.

At about 2:50 a.m. local time, Oct. 17, TransCanada’s gas control center detected a drop in pressure on a section of its north central corridor natural gas pipeline between its Wooden House and Buffalo compressor stations. TransCanada reports immediately activating its emergency response procedures, shutting down the pipeline and dispatching ground crews to begin isolating and securing the site. 

The natural gas release occurred on crown land along the pipeline right-of-way. TransCanada said the cause of the line break is still under investigation.

As of late last night the company has resumed natural gas deliveries to all but two of its northern Alberta customers affected by the line break. Moving equipment and personnel into this remote area will take some time, TransCanada said.

A member of NEB's emergency response team has been deployed and will be onsite to monitor and assess the company's immediate response, investigation, and eventual environmental remediation. Representatives from TransCanada are also on the ground, securing and assessing the incident site, having notified first responders and local First Nations groups.

NEB said it holds regulated companies fully responsible and accountable for responding to ruptures in a manner that protects the public, property, and environment. This includes clean-up and site remediation. NEB described its long-term goal with any incident as the full restoration and re-vegetation of the site, including any potential effects on sub-surface groundwater. 

Following the completion of repairs, TransCanada will demonstrate to regulators that the line can be safely returned to service, the company said.

NGTL signed firm transportation agreements earlier this year with Progress Energy Canada Ltd. for 2 bcfd of natural gas shipments from northeastern British Columbia, underpinning development of NGTL’s North Montney Mainline expansion project (OGJ Online, Aug. 7, 2013).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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