ARCHIVED – Summary of Major Changes to the Draft Revised Event Reporting Guidelines (Draft Revised Guidelines)

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Summary of Major Changes to the Draft Revised Event Reporting Guidelines (Draft Revised Guidelines) [PDF 162 KB]

National Energy Board Draft Event Reporting Guidelines

Summary of Major Changes to the Draft Revised Event Reporting Guidelines (Draft Revised Guidelines
Location Previous Wording Proposed Wording Rationale

Section 2.2

N/A

The OERS now contains a field where the company must indicate that it is reporting an incident on a precautionary basis. In these cases, the NEB will determine whether the incident is reportable based on information provided by the company. In cases where an event was reported using the precautionary approach and subsequent information indicates that it was not reportable, the NEB records will reflect this and the event will not be included on the company’s compliance record and will not be posted on the NEB Interactive Incident Map.

Driven by company feedback as well as internal feedback.

Previously companies were asked to report and the incident would subsequently be marked as not reportable if evidence demonstrated as much. The NEB now proposes to allow companies to report and the event would be not reportable until such time it is determined that it is reportable.

It makes more logical sense to use the revised approach to encourage precautionary reporting. The NEB maintains the ability to determine whether the event is a reportable incident or not.

Section 3

Significant Incidents which includes:

  • Fatality
  • Serious Injury
  • Missing Person
  • LVP Hydrocarbon release >1.5 m³ that leaves company property or the right of way
  • Toxic Plume
  • Rupture

Immediately Reportable Events which includes

  • Incidents that Harm People or the Environment
    • Fatality
    • Serious Injury
    • Sour gas  or H2S release
    • Natural Gas or HVP release >30,000 m³
    • LVP Hydrocarbon release >1.5 m³ that leaves company property or occurs on the Right of Way
    • Significant Adverse Effect on the Environment
  • Rupture (defined in Draft Revised Guidelines)
  • Toxic Plume (defined in Draft Revised Guidelines)

Driven by internal feedback.

The NEB has adopted the Departmental Results Framework (DRF) which includes a definition for Incidents that Harm People and the Environment. The revised wording reflects the new definition.

While the NEB believes that Ruptures and Toxic Plumes would, for the vast majority of circumstances, also meet the definition of Incident that Harms People and the Environment, it also wishes to maintain a level of granularity in its data and will therefore ask companies to assess whether their incident also meets those definitions. In addition, the Rupture and Toxic Plume definitions also trigger the reporting of incident costs and must therefore be retained.

Section 3

Toxic Plume Definition referred to Canadian Standards Association Z662 (CSA Z662).

A Toxic Plume:

A band of service fluid or other contaminant (e.g. hydrogen sulfide or smoke) resulting from an incident that causes people, including employees, to take protective measures (e.g. muster, shelter-in-place or evacuation).

Driven by internal and company feedback.

The CSA Z662 definition was generic and did not provide sufficient clarity as to whether an incident met the definition or not. The proposed wording added in wording about the consequence (i.e. that causes people to take protective measures) which was missing from the CSA definition. This additional wording will greatly increase clarity as to whether an incident meets the definition.

Section 4

It is possible that a single occurrence may result in multiple serious injuries (e.g., an occurrence that results in both the loss of sight in one or both eyes, as well unconsciousness).  Companies must report all serious injuries that qualify as incidents, even if all injuries result from a single occurrence. If multiple serious injuries or deaths occur as a result of a single incident at the same location or if multiple serious injuries occur to the same person in a single event, companies are expected to report those occurrences under a single incident report.  Conversely, if multiple serious injuries occur at different locations companies are expected to file separate reports for each occurrence.

It is possible that a single occurrence may result in multiple incident types. If multiple incident types occur as a result of a single occurrence, companies are expected to report those incident types under a single incident report.

Examples of situations where this might be the case include but are not limited to:

  • A pipeline rupture (occurrence) where there is a release of gas (incident type) and an explosion (incident type);
  • an industrial accident (occurrence) that causes a death (incident type), a serious injury (incident type) and a fire (incident type);
  • an operational malfunction (occurrence) that causes an overpressure (incident type) and a release of product (incident type); or
  • an operational malfunction (occurrence) that causes several concurrent or immediately consecutive overpressures (incident type). In cases where an incident has occurred, and a second incident occurs during the response to the initial incident (e.g. a fire occurs during the clean-up of a spill), the second incident is considered distinct and will should be reported separately.

Driven by internal feedback.

While the previous wording did provide additional clarity, it was provided specifically in the context of serious injuries and deaths. The section has been expanded to include examples of other incident scenarios to provide greater clarity in the context of overall incident reporting.

Section 4.1.2.

N/A

“An unintended fire or explosion”

For the purposes of notification under section 52 of the OPR, the Board employs the following definition for an “unintended fire or explosion”:

  • Any unintended fire or explosion that is caused by or impacts the construction, operation or abandonment of a pipeline.

Events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Battery explosion;
  • Fire caused by an arc, or a cable fault or a breakdown of any component of the uninterruptible power system (UPS) or the back-up generator;
  • Wildland or forest fires that damage pipeline infrastructure or impact the construction, operation or abandonment of a pipeline; and
  • Small welding or housekeeping related fires

Events that are not reportable under this section include, but are not limited to:

  • Events that are not caused by the construction, operation or abandonment of a pipeline and do not have an impact on the construction, operation or abandonment of a pipeline (e.g. grass fires that are caused by another party and do not impact pipeline facilities or operations).

Driven by company feedback.

There was previously no additional guidance given for Fires/Explosions. This section was created based on company feedback. The proposed guidance is intended to increase clarity around the circumstances for reportable fires/explosions.

In addition, via internal data analysis it was determined that companies may not be reporting all unintended fires/explosions as per the regulations possibly due to confusion about reporting requirements. As such, the NEB is providing additional guidance as to what is reportable under this section to increase the clarity and visibility of the requirements.

Section 4.1.3.

N/A

“An unintended or uncontrolled release of gas or high-vapour pressure (HVP) hydrocarbons”

For the purposes of notification under section 52 of the OPR, the Board employs the following definition for an “unintended or uncontrolled release of gas or HVP hydrocarbons”:

An unintended or uncontrolled release of natural sweet or sour gas or HVP hydrocarbons of any volume from any part of a pipeline, facility or appurtenance during the construction, operation or abandonment of that pipeline.

Events thatll under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Release through pipe body, valve body, fitting body;
  • Release through faulty seals, packing, gaskets, o-rings; and
  • Release through pressure safety valves, pressure relief valves.

Note that the user will be prompted to state whether the gas release meets the definition of “fugitive emission” which for the purposes of this document is an equipment/component leak or malfunction and that cannot be reliably quantified, and that the release poses no risk to the safety of the public, company employees or to the immediate environment and a plan for repair is in place. In these circumstances, the company will not be required to provide a volume estimate.

Events that do not fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Releases caused by the initiation of an emergency shut down; and
  • Releases caused by planned blow downs prior to operation and maintenance (O&M) activities.

Driven by internal and company feedback.

Previously no additional guidance was given on natural gas or HVP releases. This section was inserted due to internal feedback on gas release data. The NEB was finding that the majority of gas releases were small and not quantifiable; nonetheless all gas releases are reportable. The NEB requires a method to differentiate between small gas releases and larger gas releases.

In addition, via internal data analysis it was determined that companies may not be reporting all gas releases as per the regulations possibly due to confusion about reporting requirements. As such, the NEB is providing additional guidance as to what is reportable under this section to increase the clarity and visibility of the requirements.

Section 4.1.4.

“Operation of pipeline beyond its design limits…”

For the purposes of notification under section 52 of the OPR, the Board employs the following definition for an “operation beyond design limits”:

  • any operation of the pipeline beyond the criteria for which the pipeline was designed and/or the operation of the pipeline beyond criteria imposed to mitigate a condition on the pipeline. This includes conditions that have been demonstrated by an engineering assessment to provide continued fitness for service of the pipeline (e.g., pressure restrictions).

Events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • operation of a pipeline at pressures above the design overpressure protection limit given in Z662
  • operation of a pipeline at pressures outside of Board imposed criteria;
  • operation of a pipeline at a temperature outside of design criteria or Board imposed criteria;
  • exposure of the pipeline to conditions where significant vibration or excess stress can occur;
  • slope movements that affect a pipeline;
  • exposures of pipelines in waterbodies (e.g. rivers, wetlands); and 
  • the introduction of an inappropriate product into the pipeline (e.g., sour product in a line or facility designed for sweet product).

Companies are expected to apply the precautionary approach and report all occurrences that may have resulted in an operation beyond design limits. Companies will have the opportunity to demonstrate, using an engineering assessment completed pursuant to Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z662, that the occurrence did not result in operation of the pipeline beyond its design limit.  In these cases, the status of the occurrence can be changed from reportable (i.e., an incident) to not reportable. 

“Operation of pipeline beyond its design limits…”

For the purposes of notification under section 52 of the OPR, the Board employs the following definition for an “operation beyond design limits”:

The operation, for any amount of time, of a pipeline beyond the criteria for which the pipeline was designed and/or the operation of the pipeline beyond criteria imposed by the Board to mitigate a condition on the pipeline.

This includes any condition that triggered an engineering assessment to be conducted to determine continued fitness for service of the pipeline.

Events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • operation of a pipeline at a pressure above the design overpressure protection limit given in CSA Z662 (that is, operating pressure exceeds the licensed maximum operating pressure (MOP) by 10% or by 35 kPa, whichever is greater);
  • operation of a pipeline at a pressure greater than 100% of any restricted pressure imposed by the Board;
  • operation of a pipeline at a temperature greater than the design temperature;
  • slope movements;
  • exposures of pipelines including in waterbodies (e.g. rivers, wetlands) and on land; and 
  • the introduction of an inappropriate product into the pipeline (e.g., sour product in a line or facility designed for sweet product; any exceedance of product’s chemical properties as defined in the tariff limits).

Companies are expected to apply the precautionary approach and report all occurrences that may have resulted in an operation beyond design limits during the operation (including deactivation)   stage of a pipeline’s lifecycle. The status of the occurrence can be changed from reportable to not reportable if an engineering assessment pursuant to CSA Z662 is conducted and determines   that the occurrence did not in fact result in operation of the pipeline beyond its design limit.

Driven by company and internal feedback.

The NEB has proposed changes that will increase the expectation with respect to reporting Operation Beyond Design Limits (OBDL) incidents. Specifically:

Changes to the wording of the definition to clarify that:

  • The amount of time the OBDL occurred over is irrelevant for the purposes of reporting.
  • The “criteria imposed” is intended to be those imposed by the Board.
  • An engineering assessment that demonstrates fitness for service does not necessarily mean an OBDL did not occur.

Changes to the examples give to clarify:

  • Include specific wording about overpressure protection from CSA Z662.
  • That, regardless of the overpressure protection wording above, if the Board has imposed a restricted pressure the company will report anything operation greater than 100% of that restricted pressure.
  • The Board expects all slope movements to be reported
  • The Board expects all pipeline exposures to be reported
  • The circumstances under which “inappropriate product” applies to include situations where the chemical properties are outside of the defined tariff limits.

Section 5.1.1.

N/A

An unintended fire or explosion 

For the purposes of notification under section 46 of the PPR, the Board employs the following definition for an “unintended fire or explosion”:

Any unintended fire or explosion that is caused by the construction, operation or abandonment of a processing plant and/or its equipment.

Events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Any incorrect operation of fired equipment causing damage to the associated equipment.
  • Any flaring activity that results in an excursion of heat outside of the periphery of the flare pit causing any vegetation to catch fire or causing damage to property.

Driven by internal feedback.

No guidance was previously given on Fires/Explosions as they apply to the Processing Plant Regulations. This section was added to increase the clarity around the circumstances when fires/explosions are reported at processing plants.

Section 5.1.2.

N/A

Operation of a plant beyond its design limits or any limits imposed by the Board

For the purposes of notification under section 46 of the PPR, the Board employs the following definition for an “operation beyond design limits”:

The operation, for any amount of time, of any equipment beyond the criteria for which the equipment was designed and/or the operation of the equipment beyond criteria imposed by the Board to mitigate a condition on the plant equipment. This includes any condition that triggered an engineering assessment to be conducted to determine continued fitness for service of the equipment.

Events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  • For process equipment protected against over-pressure under a single pressure-relief device, an exceedance beyond 110% of the equipment’s maximum allowable working pressure (MAWP).
  • For equipment protected by multiple pressure-relief devices, an exceedance beyond 116% of the equipment’s MAWP.

Driven by internal feedback.

No guidance was previously given on OBDL as they apply to the Processing Plant Regulations. This section was added to increase the clarity around the circumstances when OBDL are reported at processing plants.

Section 5.3

N/A

For the purposes of reporting under this section an “emergency condition” is defined as any situation where emergency or contingency procedures were enacted. This includes situations where flaring occurs due to process upsets resulting in an automated or manual emergency shutdown (ESD).

Driven by company and internal feedback.

It was unclear in the previous guidance what “Emergency Condition” meant in the context of flaring. Further definition will increase clarity of reporting requirements.

Section 6

Previous section included definitions and wording from the now repealed Pipeline Crossing Regulations – Part 1 and 2 which have been replaced by the Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies and Authorizations.

The section cannot easily be repeated here due to its size; for a detailed description see the Draft Revised Event Reporting Guidelines.

Based on regulatory changes.

Section 11

N/A

Canada Labour Code

Certain employee injuries do not meet the NEB reporting requirements, but do meet either the requirements of reporting under Canada Labour Code (CLC) or its regulations COHSR or CLC OGOHSR reporting requirement as they fit the definition of “Disabling injury”.

For the purposes of reporting incidents that result in injuries under the CLC or its regulations, a “Disabling Injury” is defined as:

An employment injury or an occupational disease that

  1. prevents an employee from reporting for work or from effectively performing all the duties connected with the employee’s regular work on any day subsequent to the day on which the injury or disease occurred, whether or not that subsequent day is a working day for that employee,
  2. results in the loss by an employee of a body member or part thereof or in the complete loss of the usefulness of a body member or part thereof, or
  3. results in the permanent impairment of a body function of an employee;

Note that these events will be captured under the “Serious Injury” category in OERS. Companies are directed to ensure that, in the above instances, only the regulations pertaining to the CLC are selected on the “Company” section of OERS. These events are not reportable under NEB regulations but are reportable under CLC regulations, as such they will not appear on the incident map. 

Driven by internal feedback and company feedback.

Previous guidance included only incidents that applied to both the NEB Act and CLC. Staff have added guidance in regarding how to report the incidents that are only under CLC regulations in an effort to increase clarity and consolidate reporting guidance further.

Section 11.1.3

N/A

Incident Costs

The Board now expects companies to comply with cost reporting obligations, described below, for any incident that meets the following definition occurs under any of the Board’s  regulations:

  1. An unintended or uncontrolled release of low-vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 m³ that extends beyond a company’s property;
  2. Significant adverse effect on the environment;
  3. A rupture;
  4. A toxic plume; and/or
  5. A loss of containment of any fluid from a well.

In addition to the reporting required in the applicable regulation (as guidance is provided in this document), companies will be expected to report categorized costs related to the incident as follows:

  • Category 1 – Actual costs related to:
    • The emergency response including containment of the release;
    • The clean-up and remediation of a release; and
    • The repair or replacement of regulated facilities
  • Category 2 – Actual or estimated value of losses or damages not included in category 1.

Companies are expected to provide the above costs annually beginning the year the incident was reported and ending either when there are no further costs related to the incident or 5 years after the incident was reported (inclusive of the year that is was reported), whichever occurs first.

Reporting of costs will be integrated into the OERS at a later date and at that time OERS will automatically determine when companies are required to report costs. However, until the system changes are made, the NEB will contact companies on an as-needed basis and will provide instructions and a standard form to report costs.

Driven by internal feedback.

This data has historically not been collected by the NEB. However, the NEB has adopted the DRF which includes an indicator regarding incident costs. As such the NEB is now proposing to collect this data.

The NEB believes that the collection of this data will both increase transparency and inform the NEB’s assessment of the adequacy of financial resources that companies have to manage the costs of incidents.

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