Gas utility pipeline reports

Gas utility pipeline reports

The AUC's review of gas utility pipeline integrity management reports and emergency response plan manuals.

Integrity and emergency response procedural manuals

To ensure gas utility pipelines have appropriate documentation of procedures to monitor pipeline integrity and to respond to a potential emergency incident, the Commission undertakes to review the relevant procedure manuals for the gas utility pipelines it regulates in Alberta. This examination assists in the AUC's role in the natural gas industry to ensure safe and reliable pipeline facilities in Alberta, considering the economic, social and environmental effects. This examination was further referenced in Decision 2014-010 ATCO Pipelines Urban Pipeline Replacement Project where the Commission stated that a consultant had been engaged by the Commission to verify that policies, methods and procedures are in place to manage pipeline integrity on the ATCO Pipelines system. In that decision, the Commission indicated that the results of that review would be shared and that the Commission would deal with any issues that might arise.

The AUC requested AltaGas Utilities Inc. and ATCO Pipelines, under the authority of the Pipeline Regulation, sections 7 and 8, to file copies of their manuals relating to pipeline integrity management and emergency response plans. An independent consultant was engaged by the AUC to review the content of the manuals against the criteria established in the relevant standards and legislation. The consultant’s reviews and the utilities’ response to those reviews are provided below.

​AltaGas Utilities Inc.ATCO Pipelines
Integrity Management Program Review (March 28, 2013)Pipeline Integrity Program Review (March 28, 2013)
Emergency Response Handbook Review (March 28, 2013)Emergency Response Program Review (March 28, 2018)
AltaGas letter to the AUC (May 15, 2013)Review of ATCO Pipelines Pipeline Integrity Program and Emergency Manual (March 16, 2013)
AltaGas letter to the AUC (May 30, 2013)
AltaGas letter to the AUC (November 1, 2013)
AUC letter to AltaGas (April 1, 2014)
Emergency Management Guide and Emergency Management Plan (March 31, 2014)
AltaGas letter to the AUC (June 11, 2014)
AUC consultant review and recommendations of AltaGas Emergency Management Guide and Emergency Management Plan (June 11, 2014)

 

In general, the consultant found the pipeline integrity management manuals for ATCO and AltaGas to be satisfactory with some clarification opportunities identified. The emergency response manuals for ATCO were assessed similarly. A number of opportunities for improvement were initially identified by the consultant for the AltaGas emergency response manual. In that respect, Commission staff and the consultant met with AltaGas in October 2013. AltaGas subsequently filed updated manuals and provided further clarification details. The Commission is now satisfied that previously identified shortcomings for AltaGas have been demonstrated to be resolved and that AltaGas has adequate documentation within its emergency procedure manuals. The Commission considers that completion of this review also satisfies the reference in Decision 2014-010 to share the results of the review process for the ATCO Pipelines integrity management procedures.

The Commission intends to update its review of the pipeline integrity management and emergency response procedural manuals on a five-year basis. 

AUC review of risk identification, integrity inspections, overpressure protection and pipeline water crossings   

In September 2014, the Commission requested reporting from ATCO and AltaGas with respect to risk identification, integrity inspections, overpressure protection and pipeline water crossings. Responses were received in November 2014. In February 2015 the Commission requested further information from ATCO and AltaGas respecting overpressure protection. In December 2015, additional responses were submitted. ATCO Pipelines indicated in November 2016 that it was finalizing its investigation at several sites. In February 2017, ATCO pipelines confirmed that adequate overpressure protection is in place at all sites and that it will be re-verified annually.

AltaGas Utilities Inc.ATCO Pipelines
​AUC letter to AltaGas (September 29, 2014)AUC letter to ATCO Pipelines (September 29, 2014)
AltaGas letter to AUC (November 28, 2014)ATCO Pipelines letter to AUC and attachment (November 28, 2014)
AUC letter to AltaGas (February 12, 2015)AUC letter to ATCO Pipelines (February 12, 2015)
AltaGas letter to AUC (December 1, 2015)ATCO Pipelines letter to AUC (December 22, 2015)

 

AUC review of potential substandard pipeline materials and design

In March 2016, the AUC requested ATCO Pipelines and AltaGas Utilities to ensure that substandard pipe materials and installation practices such as identified in National Energy Board safety advisories have not occurred and are prevented. Both utilities provided responses in June 2016 confirming that their installations were appropriate and providing their associated design and installation processes.

​AltaGas Utilities Inc.ATCO Pipelines
​ ​AUC letter to AltaGas and ATCO Pipelines (March 3, 2016)
​AltaGas letter to AUC (June 28, 2016)ATCO Pipelines letter to AUC (June 28, 2016)

 

AUC review of ATCO Pipelines radiographic weld inspections

On April 27, 2016, ATCO Pipelines verbally advised the AUC that it was investigating potential shortcomings associated with radiographic inspections  for prefabricated piping assemblies conducted by outside contractors in the ATCO Edmonton welding shop between 2008 and 2015. The investigation scope includes review of both the quality of the radiographic films as well as the quality of the welds. The following correspondence describes the process undertaken:

ATCO Pipelines
Voluntary self-disclosure letter from ATCO to the AUC and AER (May 3, 2016)
AUC letter to AER regarding lead investigative role (May 13, 2016)
AUC letter to ATCO requesting information (May 13, 2016)
ATCO letter and attachment to AUC (May 31, 2016)
​AUC letter to ATCO requesting further information (June 27, 2016)
ATCO letter including attachment 1 and attachment 2 to AUC (July 18, 2016)
AUC letter to ATCO (September 29, 2016)
ATCO letter to AUC including attachment 1, attachment 2 and attachment 3 (October 25, 2016)
ATCO letter to the AUC with quarterly updates to December 2016 (March 7, 2017)
ATCO letter to the AUC with quarterly updates to March 2017 (April 4, 2017)
ATCO letter to the AUC with quarterly updates to June 2017 (July 7, 2017)
ATCO letter to the AUC with quarterly updates to September 2017 (October 2, 2017)
ATCO letter to the AUC with quarterly updates to December 2017 (December 21, 2017)

 

 The AUC will continue activities to ensure the ongoing safety of the pipeline systems it oversees.

For further information or clarification, contact Brian Shand at brian.shand@auc.ab.ca or 403-592-4434.

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