CALGARY - Lessons learned from an Enbridge pipeline spill in Michigan two years ago will be applied to the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline and other future projects, the soon-to-be CEO of the pipeline company said Wednesday.
"We haven't just been sitting around for the past two years," Enbridge president Al Monaco told reporters at the TD Securities Energy Conference.
"We made lots of enhancements in various areas of our business and we're going to continue to apply those learnings."
Monaco made his remarks a day after a report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board slammed the company's response to the leak, in which some three million litres of crude spilled into wetlands, a creek and the Kalamazoo River.
The agency said control room employees misinterpreted alarms signalling a problem with the pipeline and pumped more oil into it — twice — instead of shutting it down. It said it took more than 17 hours to respond properly.
The report also said Enbridge knew about corrosion problems on Line 6B in the southern part of the state five years before the spill and didn't fix it.
NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman said Enbridge handled the spill like "Keystone Kops" — the incompetent policemen in silent films. On Wednesday, Monaco declined to comment on the "subjective nature of that moniker."
Some employees are "no longer with us," said Monaco when asked if anyone had been disciplined following the spill. He declined to be more specific.
He said more than 200 in-line inspections, which he likens to MRIs, have been done on Enbridge pipe over the past two years.
"We're very comfortable with the strength of our pipelines, but if we do identify some areas that need more active approach then we will take that."
Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair said Tuesday the NTSB report should kill Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, which would ship oilsands crude to the West Cost for export to Asia, the Victoria Times-Colonist reported.
"Northern Gateway should be stopped and the plug should be pulled on it," the newspaper quoted Mulcair as saying.
He said the report "should be the final nail in that coffin."
First Nations groups, environmentalists and others are concerned a spill from that pipeline — or from the tankers that would sail in and out of the pipeline's terminus of Kitimat, B.C., — could damage the B.C. ecosystem.
The project is currently about midway through a regulatory hearing process.
Mulcair is to travel to oil country this week to take in the Calgary Stampede.
He's been critical of Alberta's oil and gas industry. Among other things, he's argued the energy sector's strength has jacked up the dollar, which has harmed manufacturers elsewhere in the country.
Monaco said he's open to chatting with Mulcair while he's in town.
"I would gladly meet Mr. Mulcair if he so desires," he said.
Monaco takes the helm of Enbridge once Pat Daniel retires later this year.
10. Oil And Gas Accounts For 4.8 Per Cent Of GDP
The oil and gas industries accounted for around $65 billion of economic activity in Canada annually in recent years, or slightly less than 5 per cent of GDP. Source: <a href="http://www.ceri.ca/docs/2010-10-05CERIOilandGasReport.pdf" target="_hplink">Canada Energy Research Institute</a>
9. Oil Exports Have Grown Tenfold Since 1980
Canada exported some 12,000 cubic metres of oil per day in 1980. By 2010, that number had grown to 112,000 cubic metres daily. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=9&SheetID=224" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
8. Refining Didn't Grow At All As Exports Boomed
Canada refined 300,000 cubic metres daily in 1980; in 2010, that number was slightly down, to 291,000, even though exports of oil had grown tenfold in that time. Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=7&SheetID=104" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
7. 97 Per Cent Of Oil Exports Go To The U.S.
Despite talk by the federal government that it wants to open Asian markets to Canadian oil, the vast majority of exports still go to the United States -- 97 per cent as of 2009. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
6. Canada Has World's 2nd-Largest Proven Oil Reserves
Canada's proven reserves of 175 billion barrels of oil -- the vast majority of it trapped in the oil sands -- is the second-largest oil stash in the world, after Saudi Arabia's 267 billion. Source: <a href="http://www.ogj.com/index.html" target="_hplink">Oil & Gas Journal</a>
5. Two-Thirds Of Oil Sands Bitumen Goes To U.S.
One-third of Canada's oil sands bitumen stays in the country, and is refined into gasoline, heating oil and diesel. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
4. Alberta Is Two-Thirds Of The Industry
Despite its reputation as the undisputed centre of Canada's oil industry, Alberta accounts for only two-thirds of energy production. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are the second and third-largest producers. Source: <a href="http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/statistics-facts/energy/895" target="_hplink">Natural Resources Canada</a>
3. Alberta Will Reap $1.2 Trillion From Oil Sands
Alberta' government <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/27/alberta-oil-sands-royalties-ceri_n_1382640.html" target="_hplink">will reap $1.2 trillion in royalties from the oil sands over the next 35 years</a>, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
2. Canadian Oil Consumption Has Stayed Flat
Thanks to improvements in energy efficiency, and a weakening of the country's manufacturing base, oil consumption in Canada has had virtually no net change in 30 years. Consumption went from 287,000 cubic metres daily in 1980 to 260,000 cubic metres daily in 2010. Source: Source: <a href="http://membernet.capp.ca/SHB/Sheet.asp?SectionID=6&SheetID=99" target="_hplink">Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers</a>
1. 250,000 Jobs.. Plus Many More?
The National Energy Board says oil and gas employs 257,000 people in Canada, not including gas station employees. And the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the oil sands alone <a href="http://www.capp.ca/aboutUs/mediaCentre/NewsReleases/Pages/OilsandsaCanadianjobcreator.aspx" target="_hplink">will grow from 75,000 jobs to 905,000 jobs by 2035</a> -- assuming, of course, the price of oil holds up.