UPDATE 1-Canada energy regulator says oil patch woes make hiring easier

Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:27pm EST
 
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(Adds regulator's comment on hiring, oversight criticism)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Jan 27 (Reuters) - A sharp downturn in Canada's oil patch that has caused thousands of layoffs has made it easier for the country's energy regulator to find and hire experienced staff, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Canada's National Energy Board has recently hired more than a dozen people focused on pipeline safety, NEB's Peter Watson told reporters after a speech in Toronto.

"We're very focused on attracting some of the talent that has been leaving the industry as a result of the downturn," he said.

The regulator's comments come a day after an official environmental watchdog said the NEB is doing a poor job of monitoring pipeline firms.

In response to the report, Watson said the NEB is tracking corporate adherence to the conditions imposed on pipeline approvals.

"We're doing more than ever to be transparent about the work we do," he said in the speech.

The federal government plans to unveil new transitional rules for environmental reviews of major pipeline projects after stocks markets close on Wednesday.   Continued...