Local View: TransCanada does not compromise on safety

2012-01-07T23:57:00Z Local View: TransCanada does not compromise on safetyBY ROBERT JONES JournalStar.com
January 07, 2012 11:57 pm  • 

I want to take this opportunity to respond to claims made by Mike Klink in a column (LJS, Jan. 1) that referenced TransCanada and the safety of its Keystone pipeline.

TransCanada is clear to every contractor, supplier and employee we do not compromise on safety — ever.

On the Keystone pipeline, if issues were brought to our attention about construction practices, they were immediately investigated. If corrections were needed, they were made.

Every fitting, valve, pump, weld, section of pipe and equipment is inspected at numerous points by independent inspectors. In fact, there were over 800 inspectors involved in monitoring the construction of the Keystone pipeline.

There is no issue with the safety or integrity of the pipeline in the ground. As we've said before, there were oil releases above ground at a few pump stations during the first year of Keystone's start-up.

The average amount of oil that was released was five gallons, and in all cases, the oil was cleaned up quickly. Each pump station is designed with special liners, clay barriers, gravel, berms and highly monitored shutdown valves to minimize off-site impacts if an event does occur.

This past summer, TransCanada spent two months inspecting thousands of fittings and valves at pump stations along the entire pipeline and made any necessary safety modifications to prevent similar events from happening in the future. These learnings will be used if Keystone XL is ultimately approved.

Since beginning operation in 2010, Keystone has safely transported 160 million barrels of oil that is critical to supplying refineries in America's heartland to maintain the quality of life and economic recovery for all of us.

Klink's colorful description of one event in North Dakota ignores the fact that only five barrels of oil mist went off of our pump station site. In fact, this event demonstrated TransCanada's safety systems work as the pipeline was remotely shut down within minutes of detecting the above-ground leak. TransCanada is able to do this through 24 hour a day monitoring, using satellite technology and 21,000 sensors — refreshing data every five seconds.

TransCanada has been in the pipeline business for over 60 years and is a leader with one of the best pipeline safety and operating records in the industry. We think it is important for people to carefully analyze what is being said about our pipeline and the motives behind claims that have not or cannot be proven. 

Robert Jones is vice-president of Keystone Pipeline TransCanada.


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