Alliance shuts down gas pipeline in Western Canada
Hydrogen sulphide accidentally injected into system, company says
Alliance Pipeline has shut down a natural gas pipeline in Western Canada after poisonous hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas got into the system.
The Calgary-based energy company said Friday it has told companies feeding the pipeline to stop while corrective measures are taken.
The company noted "that an amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) entered into its mainline pipeline system as a result of complications experienced by an upstream operator."
That operator is Keyera Corporation, which said in a press release Friday that there was "a brief operational upset during maintenance activities on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 5, at its Simonette gas plant, located 60 kilometres southwest of Valleyview, Alta."
"Gas which did not meet sales gas specifications entered the Alliance Pipeline system," the release said.
The shutdown will continue for an "indeterminate amount of time," Alliance said in a news release.
Alliance said the hydrogen sulphide entered the pipeline in Alberta and was stopped when it reached southeastern Saskatchewan.
Gas to be flared off
Alliance plans to flare the affected natural gas in order to safely dispose of it. This will happen at its Alameda compressor station in Saskatchewan.
There is no risk to human health and no environmental harm expected, the company says.
People in the area can expect to see flames in the air as gas is burned off.
Alliance pipeline spokesman Tony Straquadine said the company has warned nearby land owners and hired contractors to do air testing through the weekend.
"Our chief concern now is to ensure the safety of the public, employees and the environment. We are working to remove the H2S from the pipeline in a controlled and safe manner," Daniel Sutherland, Alliance's vice-president of commercial operations, said in a news release.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our customers and we are working with our partners and the regulator to determine the cause."
The pipeline runs nearly 4,000 kilometres from northeastern British Columbia to the Chicago area.
The company has notified shipping companies to make alternative arrangements to move their natural gas in the short term.
Customers should not be affected, Straquadine said. "I think I can safely say the Midwest market is dynamic relative to the supply that's available. And that our outage is not likely to create significant issues or challenges. There is an abundance of natural gas in the market."