Enbridge boosting security after recent cases of pipeline sabotage

CALGARY -- In a field on the outskirts of Sarnia, Ont., there's a big blue wheel surrounded by a chain-link fence.

See Full Article

Attached to the fence and nailed to a nearby wooden post is a warning: high pressure petroleum pipeline.

Early one December morning, a trio of anti-pipeline activists managed to get to the other side of the fence. Photos show them smiling broadly as they turned the wheel, to which they then locked themselves.

While the incident caused no injuries or significant service disruptions, the owner of the pipeline -- the newly reversed and expanded Line 9 between southwestern Ontario and Montreal -- said that incident and others have raised "serious concerns."

"Enbridge sites are locked, secured and monitored for the safety of people and the environment. As with any vital infrastructure or service, they can be made dangerous if tampered with or sabotaged," said Graham White, a spokesman for Calgary-based firm Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB).

"We are assessing and employing various additional, permanent measures to enhance our security and safety at these sites to help prevent these types of tampering activities in the future. As part of ensuring the effectiveness of these measures, we will not provide details or discuss them publicly."

Lindsay Gray, speaking on behalf of the "land defenders" in an interview on the day of the Sarnia protest, said there wasn't much stopping them.

"Anyone could have done this," she said. "Anyone."

Line 9 was offline for about 90 minutes while the protesters were removed from the site and Enbridge inspected the line for damage. Though the protesters took credit for the shutdown, Enbridge says the line was shut off remotely from its control room.

There was a similar disruption two weeks earlier on another segment on Line 9 in Quebec. And then in early January, Enbridge's Line 7 near Cambridge, Ont., was shut down due to sabotage.

Kelly Sundberg, an associate professor at Mount Royal University who specializes in environmental crime, shakes his head at those tactics.

"It's just so dangerous," he said. "They risk causing damage to the line. There are so many possible negative outcomes that could come both from a security perspective, but also from an environmental damage perspective."

On that score, Gray retorted: "Every second that it's flowing, we're in danger."

Martin Rudner, professor emeritus at Carleton University who is an expert in security and critical infrastructure, said the industry has a variety of measures in place to secure their sites and respond when they are breached -- and generally they seem to be working.

"It's hard to make an overall judgment, but I think the best way to judge it is the fact that no major interruption has taken place," he said.

But, he said: "Needless to say, they can't be everywhere all the time."

Many companies hire security guards to patrol sites, but Rudner said the use of drones could be a much more effective approach -- though there are regulatory hurdles to that.

Warren Mabee, director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen's University, said he sees the rash of pipeline tampering as a "blip," with the anti-pipeline movement emboldened by recent wins like the U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL project.

"It's not a good tactic. I think that it backfires because I think that the broad public, although they may not like the pipeline, they see that as beyond the pale."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Asian shares muted as investors await raft of economic data

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canada's main stock index was little changed in late-morning trading as U.S. stock markets took the day off for the Memorial Day holiday. The S&P/TSX composite index was up 1.59 points to 15,418.52, after 90 minutes of trading. Source
  • CN Rail may face strike as early as Tuesday morning

    Economic CBC News
    The union for more than 3,000 Canadian National Railway conductors says it may go on strike as early as Tuesday morning. Last week, the Teamsters union announced its members had voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. Source
  • Husky Oil to proceed with West White Rose project off Newfoundland

    Economic CTV News
    ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- The Newfoundland and Labrador government was exultant Monday as Husky Energy announced it will finally proceed with the multimillion-dollar West White Rose project, with first oil five years away. The company said it will use a fixed wellhead platform tied to the SeaRose floating production, storage and offloading vessel, known as an FPSO. Source
  • West White Rose project in N.L. offshore moving ahead

    Economic CBC News
    Husky Energy is moving forward with its West White Rose project, the company announced Monday. The company also says it has made a new oil discovery at the Northwest White Rose production area, which has improved the life of the field since its discovery in 1984. Source
  • A double win for Husky: company sanctions West White Rose and announces new discovery

    Economic CBC News
    Husky Energy is moving forward with its West White Rose project, the company announced Monday. The company also says it has made a new oil discovery at the Northwest White Rose production area, which has improved the life of the field since its discovery in 1984. Source
  • Back to work bill expected today in Quebec construction strike

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The Quebec government is expected to bring in back-to-work legislation today to put an end to a strike by tens of thousands of construction workers. Premier Philippe Couillard said last week that he would set the wheels in motion to legislate an end to the strike if the picket lines didn't come down by today. Source
  • Quebec construction workers protest as government set to table back-to-work bill

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Hundreds of striking construction workers protested outside Quebec's legislature on Monday, as the government prepared back-to-work legislation scheduled to be tabled later in the day. Protest organizers said thousands of workers were expected to arrive in Quebec City for the protest by Monday evening to express their frustration at failed contract negotiations. Source
  • Negotiations ongoing between CN and conductors union

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The union representing approximately 3,000 CN Rail employees is still in negotiations with the company's management after threatening job action. The Teamsters union says the company plans to make changes to the current collective agreement that would "permanently and irreparably impact workers," although a union official wouldn't specify the subject of the negotiations. Source
  • Pay down your mortgage faster or invest money seeking better returns

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Juan Pablo de Dovitiis finds himself grappling with the perennial personal finance chestnut of whether he's better off paying down his mortgage faster or investing instead. With mortgage rates sitting near record lows, the 40-year-old Torontonian figures the return on his invested dollar should exceed the guaranteed savings from making additional payments on his home. Source
  • British Airways travellers face third day of delays, cancellations

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Travellers with airlines in the British Airways group faced a third day of delays and cancellations, mainly on short-haul routes and in smaller numbers than over the weekend, when the company suffered a colossal IT failure. Source