The National Energy Board says it's responding to the concerns of Canadians about pipeline safety by holding a two-day conference with key industry leaders.

The big companies, including TransCanada and Enbridge, took part in several panel discussions at Stampede Park in Calgary Wednesday.

The companies admit public confidence has been "shaken" since a number of spills in Canada and the U.S.

The head of TransCanada says the discussion is important because of what is at stake.

"It doesn't matter how good we are, we are only measured by our last incident," said Russ Girling.

"So we have to get that to zero — the public expects that and we are going to work hard as an industry and work with our regulators to find ways in which we can continually improve and get to the standard the public expects.

"They need this infrastructure, there is no question our economy stops if it doesn't operate, but it has to operate safely and reliably every day."

The company is currently waiting to hear about approval for its controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

If approved, Keystone XL would take oil from Alberta’s oilsands through the heart of the U.S. Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas for transshipment to consumers around the world.

The head of Enbridge told the conference the 2010 spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan was a wake-up call for the company.

Al Monaco also said Wednesday he is willing to work with the B.C. government to allay doubts it has about the safety of the proposed $6-billion Northern Gateway pipeline.


U.S. officials say Enbridge violated 24 regulations in connection with the 2010 spill that sent billions of litres of oil into the waters of southwestern Michigan. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)