British Columbia

Enbridge fined $40K for failing to properly monitor B.C. pipeline prior to explosion

The Canada Energy Regulator has handed Enbridge a $40,000 fine for failing to properly monitor a Prince George, B.C. pipeline prior to its explosion in October 2018.

Blast in October 2018 near Prince George, B.C., led to widespread gas shortages throughout province

The fire caused by the pipeline explosion near Prince George, B.C., on Oct. 9, 2018 could be seen kilometres from the blast site. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has found stress corrosion cracks that weren't detected by the operator led to the rupture. (Dhruv Desai)

The Canada Energy Regulator has handed Enbridge a $40,000 fine for failing to properly monitor a Prince George, B.C., pipeline prior to an explosion in October 2018.

The ruling comes on the heels of a Transportation Safety Board (TSB) inspection that found the company had improperly delayed a scheduled hazard management inspection of the pipeline that may have detected issues and prevented the fiery blast from happening.

According to the TSB's report, the explosion in 2018 was caused by stress cracks in the pipe near Lheidli T'enneh First Nation reserve land northeast of Prince George.

The blast sparked a huge fireball and forced more than 100 people from their homes. As well, damage to the pipeline choked natural gas supply across the province and into the U.S. for months.

The Canada Energy Regulator posted its ruling online Thursday, issuing the fine to Westcoast Energy Inc., which is a subsidiary of Enbridge operating as Spectra Energy Transmission.

The ruling states that Westcoast violated the rules governing Canadian pipeline companies in that it "did not adequately implement its integrity management program with respect to stress corrosion cracking and inspection practices and that, had Westcoast done so, the pipeline defect could have been detected to avoid the rupture."

In a statement to CBC, Enbridge said it has paid the fine in full.

WATCH | A fireball rises above the site of the pipeline explosion:

Pipeline explosion ignites massive fire near Prince George, B.C., in 2018

BC

1 year ago
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A pipeline explosion ignited a fireball near Prince George, B.C., on Oct. 9, 2018. An investigation later found the blast was caused by stress cracks in a portion of the pipe. 0:16

Additionally, the company said it recognizes the concern sparked by the explosion and it has reviewed its pipeline system in B.C. to prevent future incidents from happening.

The Lheidli T'enneh First Nation is currently pursuing legal action against Enbridge, arguing the explosion caused "serious and constant distress and anguish" to its members, and that it never gave the company permission to build a pipeline on their unceded land.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Kurjata

CBC Prince George | @akurjata

Andrew Kurjata is an award-winning journalist covering Northern British Columbia for CBC Radio and cbc.ca, situated in unceded Lheidli T'enneh territory in Prince George. You can email him at andrew.kurjata@cbc.ca.

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