Spectra’s Canadian negligence and Fort Nelson leak and flare

If Spectra was so negligent the Canadian FERC equivalent had to threaten to shut down a natural gas plant to get cooperation about leaks and flares caused by negligence, and still fined Spectra, why should we believe Spectra’s claims of silence or safety for its invading Albany, Georgia Sabal Trail compressor station?

Canada’s National Energy Board fined Spectra Energy Transmission $88,000 on 22 January 2015 for numerous incidents of negligence, failing to comply with national and internal safety procedures, and

The company failed to take reasonable care to ensure safety hazards had been properly identified.

Get this:

However, despite previous findings of similar non-compliances at other facilities (Aitken Creek Gas Plant and Fort Nelson North Processing Facility), the company failed to take preventative action in advance of the NEB inspection at the Dawson Creek location.

Spectra didn’t even bother to clean up its act when it knew inspectors were coming.

Speaking of Fort Nelson, 29 January 2014, NEB to Mr. Gregory L. Ebel, President Spectra Energy Transmission, Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission: 21 June 2013 Incident at the Fort Nelson Gas Processing Plant,

On 21 June 2013, the Fort Nelson Gas Processing Plant, owned and operated by Spectra Energy, experienced a failure in its natural gas gathering system during start-up after a scheduled maintenance operation. This failure resulted in a flare that exceeded the flare pit’s perimeter fence and damaged nearby equipment. It also resulted in an unintended grass fire. Spectra Energy emergency procedures were implemented to extinguish the fires and address the gathering system failure. Notification to the National Energy Board (NEB) occurred on 5 July 2013 only after the NEB became aware of the incident.

Does that make you feel warm and fuzzy about Spectra’s proposed Albany, Georgia compressor station?

Did Spectra fix its Fort Nelson flare problem? Nope. 28 May 2014, NEB to Mr. Mark Fiedorek, President, Spectra Energy Transmission West, Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission – Fort Nelson Gas Plant – National Energy Board Investigation of Incident of 21 June, 2013,

As part of its investigation, the Board anticipated receiving results of a flare pits’ modelling assessment to demonstrate the suitability of the flare pits’ design, and to establish safe periphery around the flare pits (Modelling Assessment). This was not forthcoming. Spectra asserted that complexity, and the need for quality results delayed a timely response. The Board granted extensions to Spectra’s target dates for completion and submission of the Modelling Assessment which was received 25 April 2014. The Board notes that the Modelling Assessment was revised from an earlier modelling assessment that had not been made available by Spectra. Having reviewed the revised Modelling Assessment, the Board is of the view that the information is not adequate to verify the design and safety of the flare pits.

The Board assigns paramount importance to the Plant’s safe and secure operation.

In light of this, and the above, the Board has commenced steps to authorize, pursuant to section 15 of the NEB Act, one of its members (Authorized Member) to join and augment its ongoing investigation. The Authorized Member will take and consider all necessary evidence and information for the purpose of reporting to the Board and recommending any corrective actions the Board should implement to promote to the fullest extent, the safe and secure operation of the Plant and its flare pits including whether to direct a:

  • show-cause proceeding where Spectra must demonstrate why the Board should not cease the Plant’s operations either in part or in whole;
  • order the cessation of the Plant’s operation either in part or whole, without commencing such proceeding, and/or;
  • order Spectra to reconstruct or alter the Plant or its flare pits, either in part or whole.

There’s more in that letter. Spectra was so recalcitrant NEB had to threaten to shut down Fort Nelson to get cooperation.

Why would Albany, Georgia be different than Fort Nelson, British Columbia?

Remember to comment to FERC about Sabal Trail and that Albany compressor station.

And remember to sign the Petition to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: Oppose Sabal Trail like you oppose the Palmetto Pipeline.


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