Muskeg in oil country

Alberta Oil Spill Update: 8 hours between detection and shutoff

2011 May 06, by Chapter Council

Muskeg in oil countryIt appears that Plains All American Pipeline, responsible for Alberta’s worst pipeline spill in a long time, waited 8 hours to shutdown the flow of oil after they detected a problem, criminal negligence.

Operators of an oil pipeline whose rupture created the largest Alberta spill in 36 years detected a potential problem nearly eight hours before halting the flow of crude.

via Oil on Rainbow line halted 8 hours after problem detected – The Globe and Mail.

This pipeline flows at 75,000 barrels a day. Eight hours of flow is 25,000 barrels. The current spill estimate is 28,000 barrels. Does this mean that if the company had taken the right precaution to shutoff flow when they detected a problem, this whole spill could have been avoided? We hope this will be investigated.

Note that the company was following regulations (from 1966) to have flow regulators 72 km apart. Think about that, we are moving a toxic substance through wetlands and boreal forest, and the controls are terribly lax.

Something stinks in Alberta. We hope that the government, which has been public in its denunciation of Plains All American Pipeline, will actually serve some justice.

Also note that while the stock of the company fell briefly, it’s back on its way up. I guess investors don’t care.

Image courtesy of Greenpeace