Fail to "Integrity Management Plan"...or Plan to Fail...

Denise Raymond - Friday, March 07, 2014

Harsh words for the owner of Rangeland pipeline in Canada.  Plains Midstream, a US based company, owns the pipeline and the Alberta Energy Regulator has blasted Plains Midstream’ Alberta operations for:

  • Not inspecting enough
  • Not paying attention to government warnings
  • Failing to enact adequate mitigation measures once the leak occurred
  • Communicating poorly with hundreds of people after the spill affected them in June 2012

The pipeline leaked half a million liters of oil into an Alberta river a year and a half ago – the company is currently in an audit.

The regulator concluded that during heavy rains, water eroded the riverbed around the pipe and exposed it. The pipeline then experienced a "guillotine failure" at a weld circling the pipe.

"The pipeline failed due to high-cycle fatigue, likely caused by vibrations induced by river flow," the report says

The report pointed out there were no structural problems with the 50-year-old line, the investigation found the frequency of the company's inspections met neither provincial rules nor its own guidelines.

A key takeaway from the incident is to highlight both the company’s and the industry’s need to put robust integrity management plans in place – and then to follow the plan set forth.

Plains has been ordered to update its emergency response and communications plans. It must also submit a proposal detailing how the company will prevent future regulatory noncompliance.

The section of pipe that failed has since been abandoned.

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