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 stocks mixed after U.S. federal reserve boosts Wall Street

    Economic CTV News
    BANGKOK - Shares were mixed in Asia on Thursday after U.S. stocks reversed early losses and finished higher as investors appraised the Federal Reserve's signal that it is not in a hurry to raise interest rates. Source
  • Federal government blocks sale of construction giant Aecon to Chinese interests

    Economic CBC News
    The federal government has blocked the sale of Canadian construction company Aecon Group Inc. to Chinese interests, the office of Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has confirmed. The controversial deal between Aecon and China's CCCC International Holding Ltd., also known as CCCI, would have been worth $1.5 billion. Source
  • Feds block Aecon proposed takeover by Chinese group for national security reasons

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - The federal government has blocked Chinese state-owned CCCC International Holding Ltd.'s proposed $1.5 billion takeover of construction firm Aecon Group Inc. for reasons of national security. More coming. Source
  • Feds block $1.5B takeover of Aecon by China-owned company over national security

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The federal government has blocked the proposed $1.5-billion takeover of Aecon Group Inc. by a Chinese state-owned company for reasons of national security. After markets closed Wednesday, a spokesman for Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains confirmed the government's decision to prevent CCCC International Holding Ltd. Source
  • Canada blocks Aecon takeover by Chinese state-owned firm over national security

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The federal government has blocked the proposed $1.5-billion takeover of Aecon Group Inc. by a Chinese state-owned company for reasons of national security. After markets closed Wednesday, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains confirmed the government's decision to prevent CCCC International Holding Ltd. Source
  • Northern B.C. gas pipeline designed to supply LNG industry wins NEB approval

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- The National Energy Board has approved construction of a natural gas pipeline originally intended to supply the Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal near Port Edward, B.C., even though that $36-billion project was cancelled last July. Source
  • Strike at Caesars Windsor postpones Blink-182, Russell Peters shows

    Economic CTV News
    WINDSOR, Ont. - An ongoing strike at Caesars Windsor has postponed more concerts, this time appearances by artists including Blink-182 and Russell Peters. The southern Ontario tourist draw says it is postponing concerts and cancelling hotel reservations through June 16. Source
  • Ecuadorian Villagers lose fight to have Chevron Canada pay US$9.5 billion

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Canadian subsidiary of U.S.-based oil giant Chevron Corp. cannot be held liable for a US$9.5-billion award a court in Ecuador ordered against the parent company in favour of Ecuadorian villagers, Ontario's top court ruled on Wednesday. Source
  • Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

    Economic CTV News
    VICTORIA -- A new scientific study says more needs to be known about the impact on oyster farms of microplastic pollution that has been found in waters off Vancouver Island. The report's authors say it would be prudent to assess the extent to which shellfish ingest microbeads, microfibres and microfragments after the pollution was found in the Baynes Sound, Lambert Channel and in areas off Denman and Hornby islands. Source
  • CN to purchase hundreds of grain cars as transportation bill becomes law

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Canadian National Railway is preparing to purchase hundreds of new grain hopper cars to get shipments moving after a bill that encourages railways to make investments to avert service disruptions became law Wednesday. Source