This was the second line break in the area in less than 24 hours. The first line break occurred approximately 15km downstream of this incident, at approximately 5:45pm on 1 December, about 30km SW of the community of Little Smokey. The incident sites are about 90 and 110km SE of Grande Prairie.
TransCanada immediately activated its emergency-response plan to isolate the damaged sections of pipelines and allow the natural-gas fires to burn themselves out. No injuries have been reported as a result of either incident, and the extent of the damage to the system has not yet been determined. Some shippers were impacted as a result of the first break; however, there are no further impacts as a result of this second incident. Deliveries of gas to local communities have not been impacted as a result of either incident.
The appropriate authorities have been notified, and TransCanada personnel are at both incident sites to begin inspections and determine the extent of damage. It is expected that the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board will respond to the events shortly.
Preliminary investigations into the cause of two pipeline breaks show the breaks are likely to have been due to external corrosion on the pipeline, and the company’s staff are continuing to work with regulators at both sites to investigate and evaluate the damage. “We have crews working around the clock to repair the pipeline,” Don Wishart, TransCanada’s executive vice-president, operations and engineering, said on Friday. “We want to get it operating safely and reliably as soon as possible.”
TransCanada has an extensive integrity program that meets and often exceeds industry standards. The program includes pipeline maintenance, corrosion control, leak detection, aerial patrol, cathodic protection surveys, and public awareness. The company has spent approximately $74 million on its pipeline integrity program this year.
TransCanada is a leading North American energy company, focused on natural gas transmission and power services. Its network of approximately 38,000km of pipelines transports the majority of Western Canada’s natural gas production to the fastest-growing markets in Canada and the United States.