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Another pipeline halted for TransCanada

Published by
World Pipelines,


After evidence of drilling fluid being spilled into a western Canadian river, the National Energy Board (NEB) has stopped construction on TransCanada’s new natural gas pipeline.

On 19 November, the NEB issued a safety order after reviewing documentation TransCanada submitted, which were related to four individual drilling fluid spills.

TransCanada has also recently had its Keystone XL pipeline project rejected by US President Barack Obama. More information here.

TransCanada comments

Company Spokesman Mark Cooper explained that the spills occurred after a TransCanada subcontractor had attempted to install a natural gas pipeline under the river in which it spilled into.

He continued to explain that the drilling fluids consisted of bentonite clay and water. He also assured that it would not pose an issue for humans or the environment, and that will disperse quickly in the rapidly flowing water.

Cooper continued: "We are working with the regulators and government agencies, and will not resume drilling before they approve our ongoing plans. We will be presenting additional information to the NEB shortly to respond to questions they have raised."

The spills

The NEB states that the four spills had occurred on the McDermott Extension pipeline, between 23 October and 7 November.

Darin Barter – an NEB spokesman – said that the regulator is waiting for test results to be returned in order to conclude whether the fluids from the spill were toxic. Barter continued to explain that companies were not meant to be drilling with any toxic fluids.

"We obtained material over the last several days that called that into question that maybe the company used additives in that fluid that were toxic. So that was the impetus for the inspection officer order and the formalisation of [asking them] to halt all operations on the site."

The investigation occurs as TransCanada attempts to promote its proposed Energy East pipeline project. If approved the line will transport up to 1.1 million bpd of crude oil from Alberta across Canada to eastern refineries and the Atlantic coast.

Edited from various sources by Stephanie Roker

Sources: Oil and Gas Investor, Petro Global News, The Wall Street Journal

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