Warning Letter to Surerus Murphy Joint Venture
NEB File: RDIMS# 1127207
Enforcement File: CV1819-441
16 October 2018
Surerus Murphy Joint Venture
1600 – 605 5th Ave SW
- Warning Letter to Surerus Murphy Joint Venture
The National Energy Board (NEB) has received multiple reports of unauthorized activities being conducted on or around federally regulated pipelines by Surerus Murphy Joint Venture (SMJV) employees or its sub-contractors related to work on the High Pine Expansion Project. These reports have been made to the NEB by Enbridge Pipelines, known to the NEB as Westcoast Energy doing business as Spectra Energy Transmission (Westcoast).
Summary of Unauthorized Activities
On 5 July 2017, Enbridge reported an unauthorized activity by SMJV: specifically, a line strike that occurred during construction at the Honeymoon Creek Sales Line site by SMJV. The 2 inch sales line was in normal operation. A project contractor was completing side sloping on an excavation that had already exposed the pipe. While completing the side sloping work, the exposed pipe at the bottom of the trench was covered with overburdened soil. Subsequently, while the excavator was clearing material from the bottom of the trench, a spotter and ground disturbance supervisor saw the excavator bucket contact the line.
Upon review by the NEB staff of the information submitted by parties, the NEB determined that SMJV was in non-compliance with the National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations (DPR-A), ss.7(1)(c). SMJV did not follow the Ground Disturbance Standard Operating Procedure Spectra Energy Transmission – West 16.1, Appendix 1: Checklist for Ground Disturbance Record for all Excavations.
On 11 October 2017, Westcoast reported an unauthorized activity by SMJV: removal of a temporary access without authorization at the 16” Oak Pipeline near Fort St. John, BC. An SMJV representative contacted Enbridge’s crossing department to notify Enbridge that their worker had removed a temporary access crossing without following protocol. The crossing was permitted however they did not meet the terms and conditions of the crossing agreement.
Upon review by the NEB staff of the information submitted by parties, the NEB determined that SMJV was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, ss.7(3)(c).
On 2 February 2018, Enbridge reported an unauthorized activity by SMJV concerning a vehicle crossing near Kilometre Post 49 on the N5 Loop. While working in the area, an Enbridge employee observed a DC8 Cat clearing snow on the new right-of-way (associated with the High Pine pipeline expansion project) and pushing the snow across the existing right-of-way. No crossing assessment had been done prior to accessing the existing right-of-way.
Upon review by the NEB staff of the information submitted by parties, the NEB determined that SMJV was in non-compliance with the DPR-A, section 12.
Summary of Findings
Upon examining the information supplied by the parties as part of our review into these incidents, the NEB determined that SMJV was aware of its obligations as they pertain to performing work around pipelines, yet it contravened federal legislation on three occasions.
More specifically, the NEB has determined that:
- SMJV was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and subsection 7(1)(c) of the DPR-A on one occasion.
- SMJV was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the NEB Act and subsection 7(3)(c) of the DPR-A on one occasion.
- SMJV was in non-compliance with subsection 112(1) of the NEB Act and section 12 of the DPR-A on one occasion.
Enbridge Pipelines has procedures and processes for working around federally regulated pipelines; however, they have not been consistently followed by those working on the project.
On 5 September 2018, the NEB attended a meeting with SMJV senior leadership to discuss these unauthorized activities. The NEB recognizes and appreciates the efforts being made by SMJV to prevent future non-compliances to NEB legislation. These efforts include increased training for field staff, enhanced competency assessment for operators, improving real-time project information readily available to field staff, and the sharing of best practices both within the company and amongst companies contracted by Enbridge.
This warning is intended to bring this matter to your attention in order for you to take the necessary preventative measures to ensure compliance with the National Energy Board Act and its associated Regulations.
SMJV contractors and responsible officials must ensure that the procedure and processes governing excavation work near federally regulated pipelines are followed, and that those who perform excavation work are informed of safe work practices in accordance with section 112 of the National Energy Board Act and measures set out in the National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations. Please refer to the NEB’s Damage Prevention Framework for further information.
We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter, and for the steps you have recently undertaken to prevent such incidents in the future. Please be advised that this letter will form part of SMJV’s compliance history, and any future reported incidents may result in further enforcement action, including administrative monetary penalties, in accordance with the NEB's enforcement policy and procedures. You can find more information on the Board's compliance and enforcement activities here.
If you have any questions regarding this review or any related topic, please contact , Technical Specialist – Investigations, by telephone toll-free at 1-800-899-1265 or directly at , or by email at .
Original signed by
Audit, Enforcement and Investigations
Systems Operations Business Unit
c.c.: , President, Surerus Pipeline Inc.
, Construction Manager, Enbridge Pipelines Inc.
, Operations Inspector, National Energy Board
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