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Group 10 Engineering Of Calgary Hired By Energy Resources Conservation Board To Conduct Pipeline Review

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Oil from a pipeline leak coats a pond near Sundre, Alta., Friday, June 8, 2012. Plains Midstream Canada says one of their non-functioning pipeline leaked between 1,000-3,000 barrels of oil. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh) | CP

CALGARY - Alberta's energy industry regulator says it has hired a company to review the province's pipeline network.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board says Group 10 Engineering of Calgary has been chosen.

Earlier this summer, the government called for an independent audit to focus on pipeline safety, spill management and the security of pipelines that cross water.

The review was announced following three pipeline-related oil spills in the province.

The board says the review should be completed by the end of November and Energy Minister Ken Hughes should have a report year's end.

Greenpeace Canada spokesman Mike Hudema says it's disappointing that none of the groups that asked for the review in the first place were consulted before Group 10 was hired.

"In launching this review, Minister Hughes acknowledged that it was only happening because of public pressure," Hudema said Monday in a news release.

"Refusing to listen to the public's legitimate concerns on pipeline safety won't make them or the over 600 pipeline incidents Alberta suffers from every year go away."

Members of the Alberta Surface Rights Group, which was among the groups pushing for the pipeline review, suggested last month that they were being shut out of the process. They also pointed out that the government planned to meet with the oil industry but not with them.

Greenpeace has also been critical about the energy board's involvement in the review. The environmental groups says the board's mandate to regulate the development of Alberta's energy resources is too close to the government and is mistrusted by some people in rural areas.

In one of the spills this year, a Plains Midstream Canada pipeline leaked about 475,000 litres of oil into the Red Deer River, a major drinking water source in central Alberta.

The energy board says that after the report is presented to the minister, the board will review it and make its own written conclusions by the end of March.

The board says the review will be in addition to any incident-specific investigations it is conducting.

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