Governmental Agencies Strive for Better Pipeline Safety in British Columbia

The National Energy Board (NEB) and the Oil & Gas Commission (OGC) of British Columbia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that improves pipeline safety and provides opportunities for further regulatory efficiency for energy development.

The MOU also establishes a protocol for coordinating the training and technical liaison in areas common to both the NEB and the OGC.

"The NEB and OGC strive towards regulating energy projects that are safe and efficient for the benefit of the people in B.C. and all Canadians," said NEB Chair Gaétan Caron. "Our agreement today builds on our existing partnership to make further improvements to our processes in terms of pipeline safety, environmental protection, and economic and regulatory efficiency."

OGC Commissioner Alex Ferguson confirms a key part of the MOU covers greater cooperation and coordination between the two regulators in the areas of safety, emergency management and agency training.

"Our existing relationship ensures that public and environmental protection are held in the highest respect regardless of jurisdiction," Ferguson said. "What this memorandum does is solidify that relationship and define the terms of cooperative interaction."

A key part of the MOU covers greater cooperation and coordination between the two regulators in the event of a pipeline incident or emergency. For example, in the event of a pipeline incident or emergency that takes place within B.C. on an NEB-regulated pipeline, the OGC will provide assistance as requested by the NEB. This assistance may include monitoring the pipeline operator's response with respect to managing the emergency, ensuring public safety and minimizing the impact on the environment. The NEB will be responsible for the investigation of the incident as well as the clean-up and rehabilitation operations. If such an incident occurs on a BC-regulated pipeline, the NEB will provide assistance to the OGC.

The MOU between the two regulators also covers such matters as notifying each other when conducting an audit of a pipeline or taking enforcement action against a pipeline company that is regulated by both federal and provincial authorities.