Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A boom stretches out to contain a pipeline leak on the Gleniffer reservoir near Innisfail, Alta., on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Plains Midstream Canada says one of their non-functioning pipelines leaked between 1,000-3,000 barrels of sour crude near Sundre, Alta., on June 7 and flowed downstream in the Red Deer river to the reservoir.

JEFF McINTOSH/The Canadian Press

A pipeline break that saw 3,200 barrels of crude spill into Alberta's Red Deer River in 2012 came as a result of company failures and a river flow many times higher than the seasonal norm, according to a report released by Alberta's energy regulator Tuesday.

The oil release from Plains Midstream Canada ULC's Rangeland pipeline on June 7 affected landowners, farms, and rafting tour and recreational fishing operators as far as 40 kilometres downstream near the central Alberta community of Sundre – and prompted a visit of concern by Alberta Premier Alison Redford. According to the report from the Alberta Energy Regulator, the rupture to a pipeline weld was likely caused by river flow vibrations, but came after the company failed to do annual inspections of the 48-year-old pipeline, or appropriately mitigate erosion of the riverbed under the pipe.

The report also said Plains could have prevented the spill, or lessened its damage, if it had checked that the pipeline was safe following the province's high-stream flow advisories and flood warnings issued June 5 and 6. The usual river flow of 20 to 30 cubic metres per second was up to 1,000 cubic metres the day before the spill, and at the time of the break, up to 600 cubic metres per second.

Story continues below advertisement

Darin Barter, a spokesman for the regulator, said the energy watchdog is keeping a close eye on Plains. He noted that the company's Alberta operations have been cited in 19 high-risk enforcement actions – or directives from the energy regulator – since 2011. Last year, the Alberta government laid environmental charges against Plains for the company's 2011 Rainbow pipeline rupture that resulted in the province's largest oil spill in 36 years.

Last July, the energy regulator ordered a full-scale audit of the company's pipeline operations. It also directed Plains to update its emergency response plan in the Sundre area, and to conduct a resident awareness program. Further, it ordered Plains to submit an "action plan" to the Alberta Energy Regulator detailing what it will do to prevent future regulatory non-compliance.

Although environmental groups such as Greenpeace have criticized Alberta for not being tougher on polluters, Mr. Barter said the directives come at a significant financial cost to Plains.

"We are coming down very hard on the company," he said, noting that the company also faces extra scrutiny in the course of any project applications.

The company issued a news release Tuesday saying it is reviewing the energy regulator's findings.

"In the two years since the Rangeland Pipeline incident, Plains has worked diligently to fulfill our commitment to clean up the release and mitigate impacts," the statement said. "Plains has taken significant steps since the incident to reduce the potential for further incidents to occur."

The Rangeland pipeline was built in 1966 and originally licensed to Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Co. Plains acquired the pipeline in 2006. The damaged stretch of the pipeline is no longer in operation.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies