2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Friday, November 11, 2011

Alliance Pipelines told its pipeline doesn't meet safety requirements for location: Updated

The National Energy Board (NEB) has made a ruling that the Alliance Pipeline in area of the Alexis Casino development in northwestern Alberta is not satisfactory for use there under current conditions.  Various requirements for pipeline specifications and operations depend on class location.  Class location is generally determined on the basis of how many people live and work in the vicinity of the pipeline.  Class 1 locations feature low density populations.  The Alexis Casino segment of the Alliance high-pressure gas pipeline is currently designated as a Class 2 location, but the NEB had suggested to Alliance that it would become a Class 3 location due to the development. 

Alliance sought to maintain the Class 2 designation so that it could continue to use the pipeline as constructed at its current operating pressure.  It argued that it has never seen more than 110 occupants during any visits to the casino since early 2008.  Alliance estimates that up to 842 people can be present at the Casino site at a given time.  Alliance has installed yellow-coloured reinforced concrete slabs over the pipeline as protection against any potential mechanical damage from equipment contact, three strips of yellow warning tape, and line makers along the right of way.  It contends that these safety measures are sufficient to allow the pipeline to continue to operate under a Class 2 location designation.

The NEB disagreed with Alliance.  The Board was of the view that the probability that significantly more than 20 persons could be present at the Casino site is high enough to, on its own motion, conclude that the designation of the area as Class 2 does not adequately address the possible consequences of failure at the Casino site.  The Board found that the consequences of a failure at the Alexis Casino pipeline segment are potentially severe, given that up to 842 individuals concentrated in a localized, constrained area could be impacted.  The pipeline must therefore be in compliance with Class 3 location requirements.

Despite its ruling, the NEB has given Alliance until May 31, 2013 - one and a half years - to bring the pipeline into conformity with the requirements that currently apply to the pipe.

Read the NEB decision at: Letter Decision.

UPDATE:

Here is a diagram showing the proximity of the NPS 36 high pressure gas line to the Casino development.