Canada regulator orders Spectra Energy to clean up practices

Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:34pm EDT
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By Mike De Souza

CALGARY, July 14 (Reuters) - Canada's national energy regulator has ordered Spectra Energy Corp to correct a series of "management system failures" following more than two dozen safety and security incidents at its Canadian plants and facilities since 2014.

The National Energy Board (NEB) issued a safety order to the Houston-based pipeline and midstream company on Tuesday, outlining several concerns and asking management to fix the problems at its Westcoast Energy processing plants in western Canada.

The Board has issued C$122,300 in fines to Spectra Energy Corp since the beginning of 2015, and a spokesman for the regulator said more sanctions could follow if the company is unable to abide by the order.

"The Board expects Westcoast to address safety concerns on a systemic basis, throughout all its gas processing plants and facilities," said the safety order sent to Mark Fiedorek, the president of Spectra Energy Transmission West. "Based on recent violations described below, the Board is not confident safety concerns are being addressed in this manner."

The order, signed by the regulator's secretary, Sheri Young, said that Spectra Energy Corp had violated regulations for processing plants 27 times since April 2014. The infractions related to issues such as inadequate inspection and testing of material handling equipment.

The company said in a statement that it was committed to taking appropriate steps to improve all safety and environmental protection-related practices.

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

The regulator said it was also investigating Spectra over a June 26 incident involving a spill at a terminal in Hardisty, Alberta on its Express pipeline.

Board spokesman Darin Barter said the company can expect to see more inspections from the regulator in the future.

"The safety order is a guarantee that we'll see progress," he said. (Reporting By Mike De Souza; Editing by Christian Plumb)