07/14/2015 18:37 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 01:12 EDT

National Energy Board slaps Spectra safety order over gas plant issues

CALGARY — The National Energy Board has issued a safety order against Spectra Energy in response to a variety of issues at the company's natural gas processing plants.

Between April 2014 and June 26 of this year, board inspectors found 27 instances of Spectra not following the rules at facilities in Alberta and British Columbia.

NEB spokesman Darin Barter says the problems ranged from venting gas to product spills, but one of the biggest issues was Spectra not having the right trained staff on site.  

The order requires Spectra to file a report by the end of September outlining the root causes of what went wrong with its management system, among other things.

In addition to the safety order, the NEB has also slapped Spectra with a total of more than $122,000 in penalties this year in relation to three different incidents.

Spectra spokesman Jesse Semko says the company will do what's needed to meet the NEB's requirements.

"This includes providing the NEB with the information it has requested and demonstrating that a systematic approach to management systems has been implemented," Semko said in an emailed statement.

"These steps will build on an ongoing commitment to improve all safety and environmental protection-related practices and to continue our progress towards moving to a zero incident workplace culture."

In a letter Tuesday to Mark Fiedorek, president of Spectra Energy Transmission West, the NEB acknowledged that the company has addressed many of the issues at the plant where they were first discovered, but wants to ensure that's being done throughout the company's operations.

The safety order is "about the highest level you can go in the NEB before prosecution takes place. So we are taking this very seriously," Barter said.

Spectra is also required to report to the NEB quarterly until the end of 2017, he added.


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Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press