​Four charts showing different views of pipeline ‘poor performers’ in Alberta

Image: AER

The Alberta Energy Regulator released a set of data Tuesday that identifies the “poor performers” in terms of pipeline incidents in the province over the last two years.

The new way of reporting is designed to provide greater transparency and drive increased industry accountability, AER CEO Jim Ellis said in a statement.

Overall, the AER says that in the past 10 years pipeline incidents fell by 44 per cent as the length of pipelines grew by 11 per cent.

“This drop is a result of better industry education, improved inspection programs, and a greater focus on pipeline safety within the energy industry,” the regulator says.

Pipeline incidents in Alberta declined by three per cent in 2016 to 460, compared with 473 in 2015, the AER says. Additionally, 93 per cent of pipeline incidents in 2016 had low-to-medium consequences in terms of public, wildlife, and environmental impacts, while 61 per cent released less than one cubic metre of volume

There are multiple ways to analyze a company’s pipeline performance, the AER says, and none alone is an indicator of the “full story” it uses to determine compliance.

“There is no single solution or simple answer. That’s why it’s so important to look at more than one metric,” the AER says.

“When it comes to improving performance, the AER considers everything. We look at all the data we have in order to understand which operators are performing well and which need improvement. We look at an operator’s compliance history, its incident ratio, the total number of incidents it has, and the consequence rating of those incidents. We also look at the location of its pipelines and the types of product it carries in its pipelines. Based on all these factors, we prioritize which operators we need to focus on to prevent pipeline incidents.”

Here are four charts that show the different ways to rank recent performance on the bottom end of each scale.

Incident ratio

Total incidents

High consequence incidents

Total volume released

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