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Revised June 2017

Letter dated 16 June 2017 and National Energy Board Draft Event Reporting Guidelines [PDF 430 KB]

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

16 June 2017

To: All Companies under the National Energy Board’s Jurisdiction and Other Interested People

For Consultation – Draft Revised Event Reporting Guidelines

Background

Many of the regulations created under the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act contain definitions and reporting requirements for various events such as incidents and unauthorized activities. The National Energy Board (NEB, the Board) reviews all reported events and has noted some inconsistency with respect to what incidents are reported as well as the information provided in the incident reports.

As a result, on January 1, 2015 the NEB Event Reporting Guidelines (the Guidelines) were enacted with the goal of clarifying reporting requirements across NEB regulations. Since January 2015, the NEB has compiled feedback from various sources both informally and formally including: from regulated companies via the NEB Online Event Reporting System (OERS), a formal letter from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) that outlines feedback from its NEB-regulated member companies and internally driven feedback from NEB staff.

Action

The Draft Revised Event Reporting Guidelines (the Draft Revised Guidelines, attached) dated June 2017 are the product of the feedback mentioned above. The NEB is referring the document to industry for final consultation on the proposed changes. In addition to the Draft Revised Guidelines, the NEB has included a table that summarizes major changes and the rationale for the changes to facilitate the review process.

Comment Period

A comment period has been put into place to allow companies and other interested people to provide feedback or request clarification on the Draft Revised Guidelines. The comment period will close 6 weeks from the date of this letter.

Your comments can be filed electronically with the Board using the “Submit Applications and Regulatory Documents” featured on the NEB website, or by mail, fax or courier to:

Secretary of the Board
National Energy Board
Suite 210, 517 Tenth Avenue SW
Calgary, AB  T2R 0A8

Facsimile 403-292-5503
Toll free facsimile 1-877-288-8803

Yours truly,

Original signed by L. George for

Sheri Young
Secretary of the Board


National Energy Board
Draft Event Reporting Guidelines

Revised June 2017

National Energy Board Act:
Onshore Pipelines Regulations
Processing Plant Regulations
National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations
National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies

Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act:
Drilling and Production Regulations
Installations Regulations
Geophysical Operations Regulations
Diving Regulations

Contents

1.0 Goal

The goal of this document is to provide National Energy Board (NEB or Board) regulated companies with greater clarity regarding the Board’s expectations for event reporting (e.g., incidents, occurrences, etc.) under its regulations. This will (a) provide companies with the information necessary to clearly understand the Board’s expectations with respect to event reporting; and (b) require companies to provide the NEB with the information necessary for the NEB to conduct the appropriate follow-up.

In the event of a discrepancy between this document and any legislative requirement, the relevant legislative requirement takes precedence.

2.0 Background

This document sets out the events that are reportable under the regulations administered by the Board and provides examples of such events. It also explains the Board’s expectations as to the timing of reporting and the information required when reporting events and making submissions to the NEB’s Online Event Reporting System (OERS).

All companies regulated by the NEB under the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (COGOA, as it applies to the Norman Wells proven area, and  the offshore) are responsible for following the reporting requirements set out in this document. In addition, companies that are regulated by the Board under the Northwest Territories Oil and Gas Operations Act (OGOA) in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region are required to report events in accordance with these guidelines.Footnote 1 Companies may have additional reporting requirements under other legislation such as the Canada Labour Code (CLC) and are responsible for reporting to the appropriate government departments or agencies.

The NEB and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) have adopted a single window approach for event reporting. However, in some areas, the TSB reporting requirements are somewhat different than the NEB requirements. For additional details on the TSB reporting requirements, companies should refer to the Transportation Safety Board Regulations and the TSB website (http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/incidents-occurrence/pipeline/index.asp).

It should be noted that information required by the TSB as per their regulations is separately identified in the OERS. It is the responsibility of the company to ensure the information required by the TSB is entered into OERS in accordance with their 30 day timeline. OERS will automatically forward this information to the TSB within the timeline.

2.2 Precautionary Approach

The Board’s top priorities are the safety and security of people, and the protection of the environment and property. Accordingly, it is the Board’s expectation that each company take a precautionary approach to the reporting of events. This means that even if there is some doubt as to whether an event should be reported, the company is to report the event. In other words, companies should adopt a “when in doubt, report” approach. This approach to event reporting is consistent with NEB-regulated companies’ responsibility for anticipating, preventing, mitigating and managing incidents of any size or duration.

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.

2.3 NEB Oversight of Event Reporting

In accordance with section 12 of the NEB Act, the NEB reviews all events that are reported in order to assess whether companies have taken the appropriate corrective actions and to identify trends that may exist in regard to events. The NEB implements enforcement actions where necessary if any non-compliance is identified during the course of review.

In addition, the NEB may, on its own or working with other government bodies (e.g., the TSB), open a formal investigation of an event.

3.0 Immediately Reportable Events

Where regulations require an event to be reported “immediately”Footnote 2, companies must also consider whether the event meets any of the following definitions:

  • An Incident that Harms People or the Environment:
    • Death;
    • A serious injury (as defined in the OPR or TSB regulations);
    • A LVP hydrocarbon release in excess of 1.5 m3 that leaves company property or occurs on or off the right of way;
    • A sweet natural gas or HVP release >30,000 m³;
    • Any release of sour natural gas or hydrogen sulfide; and/or
    • A significant adverse effect on the environment (see section 4 for guidance)
  • A Rupture:
    • an instantaneous release that immediately impacts the operation of a pipeline segment such that the pressure of the segment cannot be maintained.
  • 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).

Where an event meets any of the above definitions, it qualifies as an immediately reportable event and companies are required to notify the TSB Reporting Hotline at (819) 997-7887. Subsequently, the company is required to input the details required by both the TSB (see TSB regulations) and the NEB into the OERS. The phone notification and the input of information into OERS are required to occur as soon as possible and no later than 3 hours of the incident being discovered. The goal of the initial phone notification is to allow the relevant agencies to mobilize a response to an incident, if required. Note that OERS will automatically determine whether the event meets the definition of an “Incident that Harms People or the Environment”, however the company will be responsible for specifically indicating whether the incident meets the definitions of “Rupture” and “Toxic Plume”.

For all other events that do not meet any of the definitions in this section, companies are not required to phone the TSB Reporting Hotline but must report the event as soon as possible and no later than twenty-four hours after the event was discovered.

4.0 Multiple Incident Types

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 types).

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 should be reported separately.

4.0 NEB Act – Onshore Pipelines Regulations

4.1 Definition of “Incident”

Section 52 of the OPR requires companies to notify the Board of all incidents relating to the construction, operation, or abandonment of their pipelines.

An “incident” is defined in section 1 of the OPR as:

  • an occurrence that results in
    • the death of or serious injury to a person;
    • a significant adverse effect on the environment;
    • an unintended fire or explosion;
    • an unintended or uncontained release of low-vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 m³;
    • an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas or high-vapour pressure (HVP) hydrocarbons;
    • the operation of a pipeline beyond its design limits as determined under CSA Z662 or CSA Z276 or any operating limits imposed by the Board.

Paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (e) and (f) have been identified as requiring additional guidance and are clarified below.

4.1.1 “The death of or serious injury to a person”

Companies are required to report a death or serious injury to a person only where the death or injury is a result of an occurrence that relates to the construction, operation, or abandonment of a “pipeline”Footnote 3. Whether a death or injury is related to the construction, operation, or abandonment of a pipeline will depend on whether the person who was killed or injured was working at the time of the incident and/or whether the work was a cause or contributing factor to the incident. It is important to note that, unlike the CLC, the OPR does not differentiate between different types of “persons”. Therefore, companies must report all deaths or serious injuries to any person that occur relating to pipeline construction, operation, or abandonment regardless of whether that person was directly employed by the company.

Where it is unclear whether a death or serious injury relates to the construction, operation, or abandonment of a pipeline (e.g., a suspected heart attack), the Board expects that companies will employ the precautionary approach and report such deaths. Companies will have the opportunity to demonstrate, as part of their detailed reports (see section 11), that the occurrence that resulted in a death or serious injury did not qualify as an incident (e.g., that it resulted from a pre-existing health condition unrelated to the work that the person was doing). In these cases, the NEB will change the status of the occurrence from reportable (i.e., an incident) to not reportable.  

The definition of “serious injury” in the OPR is not exhaustive and contains multiple injuries that qualify as serious, including “the fracture of a major bone”. The NEB uses the following definition of “major bone”: skull, mandible, spine, scapula, pelvis, femur, humerus, fibula, tibia, radius, and ulna.

4.1.4 “Significant adverse effect on the environment”

For the purposes of notification under section 52 of the OPR, the Board employs the following definition for significant adverse effect on the environment:

  • a release of any chemical or physical substance at a concentration or volume sufficient to cause an irreversible, long-term, or continuous change to the ambient environment in a manner that causes harm to human life, wildlife, or vegetation.

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

  • release of a toxic substance (as defined in the OPR) into a sensitive environment (e.g., watercourse or wetland) or into a designated national/provincial area (e.g., national park, provincial park, wildlife refuge);
  • “frac outs” released directly into a watercourse during horizontal directional drilling operations;
  • the release of a toxic substance in an area where there is a pathway to a receptor nearby (e.g., the groundwater or surface water is used for drinking water, irrigation water, and/or is consumed by livestock); and
  • the destruction of critical habitat, as that term is defined in the Species at Risk Act. 

Companies are expected to apply the precautionary approach and report all occurrences that may result in a significant adverse effect on the environment. Companies will have the opportunity to demonstrate, as part of their detailed reports (see section 11), that the occurrence did not have a significant adverse effect on the environment. In these cases, the status of the occurrence can be changed from reportable (i.e., an incident) to not reportable.

It should be noted that, if adverse effects are caused by residual contamination from a historical event or accumulation of contaminants over time, it should be reported through the Secretary of the Board as a Notification of Contamination. This process is further described in the NEB Remediation Process Guide.

4.1.2 “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).

4.1.3 “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 that fall 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 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.

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”:

  • 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 BoardFootnote 4;
  • operation of a pipeline at a pressure greater than 110% of any company’s self-imposed pressure restriction;
  • 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 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.

4.1.5 Reporting Timelines

Section 52 of the OPR requires companies to immediately notify the Board of any incident. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this notification.

Section 52 of the OPR also requires the submission of a Preliminary Incident Report (PIR) and a Detailed Incident Report (DIR) “as soon as is practicable”. Generally, companies’ initial notification of an incident will satisfy the PIR requirements. The information required for a DIR must be submitted within 12 weeks of reporting an incident. For complex incidents, companies may request an extension for submission of a DIR.

5.0 NEB Act – Processing Plant Regulations

There are several relevant reporting sections in the PPR, including reporting of incidents, emergency flaring, hazards, and emergency shutdowns. The following sections will outline the Board’s expectation with respect to each of the reporting requirements.

5.1 Definition of “Incident”

Incident reporting requirements are located in section 46 of the PPR. “Incident” is defined in section 1 of the PPR as an occurrence that results or could result in a significant adverse effect on property, the environment, or the safety of persons.

For the purposes of incident reporting in the PPR, events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  1. the death of or serious injury to a person (for additional guidance on this term, see section 3.1.1);
  2. a significant adverse effect on the environment (for additional guidance on this term, see section 3.1.2);
  3. an unintended fire or explosion that results in or has the potential to result in damage to company, public/crown or personal property (for additional guidance on the role of flaring, see section 4.3);
  4. an unintended or uncontained release of LVP hydrocarbons or process fluids/by-products (excluding fresh water) in excess of 1.5 m³;
  5. an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas, HVP hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide or other poisonous gas; or
  6. The operation of a plant beyond its design limits or any limits imposed by the Board.

Paragraphs (c) and (f) have been identified as requiring additional guidance and are clarified below.

5.1.1 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.

5.1.2 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.

5.1.3 Reporting Timelines

Section 46 of the PPR requires companies to immediately notify the Board of any incident. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this notification.

Section 46 of the PPR also requires the submission of a PIR and a DIR “as soon as practicable”. Generally, companies’ initial notification of an incident will satisfy the PIR requirements. The information required for a DIR must be submitted within 12 weeks of reporting an incident. For complex incidents, companies may request an extension for submission of a DIR.

5.2 Hazard that Renders the Plant Unsafe to Operate

Under section 47 of the PPR, a company is required to immediately notify the Board of any hazard that renders or may render its processing plant unsafe to operate.

For the 7.1

purposes of reporting under this section, events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to, natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, or floods, as well as protests or other types of civil unrest that may affect operations in this way.

Companies should refer to section 11 of this document for additional information on reporting information requirements.

5.2.1 Reporting Timelines

Paragraph 47(a) of the PPR requires companies to immediately notify the Board of any hazard that renders the plant unsafe to operate. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this notification.

In addition to immediate notification, paragraph 47(b) of the PPR requires companies to provide a report to the Board “as soon as practicable”. The information required to be contained in the report is qualitatively similar to that required for a DIR required under the PPR (see section 11) and, therefore, the Board expects this report to be submitted within 12 weeks of notification.

5.3 Emergency Burning or Flaring

Section 48 of the PPR requires companies to report to the Board any burning of either:

  • hydrocarbon gas; or
  • a by-product of the processing of hydrocarbon gas
  1. that occurs as a result of an emergency condition.

Any flaring that is a result of an emergency condition, including full or partial shut down, must be reported. Companies are not required to report routine flaring, such as that resulting from pigging or regular/required maintenance.

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).

If a flaring event also has or may have a significant adverse effect on property, the environment, or the safety of persons, that event is also reportable under section 46 of the PPR as an incident (see section 5.1).

Companies should refer to section 11 of this document for additional information on reporting information requirements.

5.3.1 Reporting Timelines

The PPR do not contain explicit timing requirements for reporting of emergency burning or flaring under section 48. The Board expects that a company will report such events within one week of occurrence.

5.4 Suspension of Operations

Section 49 of the PPR sets out the notification and reporting requirements for the suspension of operations at processing plants.

Companies should refer to section 11 of this document for additional information on reporting information requirements.

5.4.1 Reporting Timelines

Subsection 49(1.1) of the PPR requires that companies notify the Board of suspensions under section 49 as soon as practicable. The Board expects that companies will provide such notification to the Board within 24 hours of:

  • the suspension of an entire plant for a period exceeding 24 hours; or
  • the suspension of part of a plant for a period exceeding seven days.

For the purposes of the detailed report required under subsection 49(2), the Board expects that companies will provide this information within one week of notification.

6.0 NEB Act – Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Obligations of Pipeline Companies (DPR-O) and Authorizations (DPR-A)

Subsection 11(1) of the DPR-O states that the pipeline company must immediately report to the Board:

  1. every contravention of the National Energy Board Pipeline Damage Prevention Regulations – Authorizations (DPR-A);
  2. all damage to its pipe caused or identified during the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, the operation, maintenance or removal of a facility, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the pipeline; and
  3. any activity related to the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across a pipeline that the pipeline company considers could impair the safety or security of the pipe.

6.1 Unauthorized Activities

The following activities qualify as Unauthorized Activities under subsection 112 of the NEB Act and the DPR-A:

  • Ground Disturbance: Unauthorized ground disturbance activities in the prescribed area, which extends 30 metres (100 feet) from each side of the centreline of the pipe. A “ground disturbance” is any activity that involves:
    • the soil being disturbed or displaced to a depth of 30 cm or more;
    • any reduction of the earth cover over the pipeline; or
    • cultivation to depths of 45 cm or more.
  • Construction of a Facility: Unauthorized construction of a facility across, on, along, or under a pipeline (including the right-of-way). This category includes activities such as construction of structures/facilities (e.g. swimming pools, skating rinks, sheds) on a right-of-way as well as stockpiling of materials such as sand or soil; and
  • Vehicle Crossings: Unauthorized operation of a vehicle or mobile equipment across a right-of-way, outside the travelled portion of a highway or public road. Occurrences that fall into this category include operation of heavy equipment or trucks across the right-of-way.

Companies are expected to apply the precautionary approach and report all occurrences that may have resulted in an Unauthorized Activity. Companies will have the opportunity to demonstrate, as part of their reports (see section 11), that the occurrence did not result in an Unauthorized Activity. In these cases, the status of the occurrence can be changed from reportable (i.e., an Unauthorized Activity) to not reportable.

6.2 Damage to a Pipeline

Paragraph 11(1)(b) of the DPR-O also requires companies to report

  • “all damage to its pipe caused or identified during the construction of a facility across, on, along or under a pipeline, the operation, maintenance or removal of a facility, an activity that caused a ground disturbance within the prescribed area or the operation of vehicles or mobile equipment across the pipeline”.

This includes circumstances where it is unclear how or when the damage may have been caused and includes circumstances where the damage was caused, or likely caused, by the company itself, the company’s direct contractors or a third party. In these circumstances companies are directed to provide a “Damage to Pipeline” notification to the Board via OERS.

6.3 Suspension of Consent

Section 10(2) of the DPR-O requires companies to notify the Board should it suspend the consent it has given to a party to do work in accordance with the DPR-A. The grounds for suspension are outlined in s. 10(1) of the DPR-O. If at any time a company suspends consent it has previously given, the company is directed to submit a “Revocation of Authorization” to the Board via OERS.

6.4 Reporting Timelines

A report of an Unauthorized Activity, Damage to Pipeline or Suspension of Consent is required to be submitted to the Board immediately. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this report.

The NEB is aware that all of the required information may not be available within the reporting timeframe of “immediately” (see section 3 of this document). Where this is the case, companies must still report immediately and provide as much information as possible. If the information is not complete, companies must provide the remainder of the information within 30 days of the initial report. For details on reporting information requirements see section 11 of this document.

7.0 OGOA and COGOA – Drilling and Production Regulations

The applicable reporting requirements found in sections 75 of the DPR and the OGOA DPR include both “incidents” and “near-misses”. The following sections will provide guidance on both of these requirements.

7.1 Incident Reporting

Under subsections 1(1) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR, “incident” is defined as:

  1. any event that causes
    1. a lost or restricted workday injury (as defined in the DPR,
    2. death,
    3. fire or explosion,
    4. a loss of containment of any fluid from a well,
    5. an imminent threat to the safety of a person, installation or support craft, or
    6. pollution;
  2. any event that results in a missing person; or
  3. any event that causes
    1. the impairment of any structure, facility, equipment or system critical to the safety of persons, an installation or support craft, or
    2. the impairment of any structure, facility, equipment or system critical to environmental protection.

Subparagraphs (a)(iv), (a)(v), and (a)(vi) have been identified as requiring additional guidance and are clarified below.

7.1.1 “A loss of containment of any fluid from a well”

A “loss of containment” is an event that allows any fluid in the well bore to bypass well barriers and reach the surface or potentially adversely impact a downhole hydrocarbon-bearing reservoir. This includes a formation kick or a blow-out, or lost circulation into a hydrocarbon bearing reservoir. It does not include lost circulation into a non-hydrocarbon bearing zone below the surface casing depth.

Lost circulation of any fluid in the well above the surface casing depth may qualify as an incident under this definition if it has potential to result in any adverse impact to the environment (e.g., contamination of soil or surface or groundwater).

7.1.2 “Imminent threat to the safety of a person, installation or support craft”

An imminent threat to safety means that a person, installation, or support craft will be harmed in the near future unless the threat can be avoided, additional control measures are put in place to prevent the threat, or emergency response procedures are implemented.Footnote 5

Imminent threats include events such as:

  • overdue contact with a vehicle, vessel or aircraft transporting operations personnel;
  • person overboard at an offshore installation or a support craft;
  • unauthorized vessel entering the safety zone of an installation or a vessel that is unable to be reached by radio or for which a support craft is sent to intercept;
  • precautionary evacuation in whole or in part (for example, removal of non-essential personnel);
  • securing the well or depressurization of flow lines;
  • emergency landings of helicopters;
  • alert to search and rescue resources; and
  • deployment of search and rescue helicopter or requesting emergency response standby for landing in response to in-flight issues with a helicopter.

7.1.3 “Pollution” and significant pollution

Subsections 1(1) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR define “pollution” as the introduction into the natural environment of any substance or form of energy outside the limits applicable to the activity that is subject to an authorization, including spills.

Companies are expected to report an introduction of substance or form of energy as pollution if it exceeds a limit of discharge outlined in an environmental protection plan prepared in relation to an authorization (sections 6 and 9 of the DPR and the OGOA DRP). In the absence of such a limit, companies must report any release of that substance or form of energy into the natural environment.

Subparagraphs 75(2)(b)(vi) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR address, among other things, reporting requirements for incidents of significant pollution. Events that constitute significant pollution include:

  • spills of hydrocarbons, well or formation fluids; and
  • discharge of substances that result in an exceedance of relevant quality criteria such as Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines.

For example, if the limit of discharge for natural gas to a flare that cannot be feasibly conserved is a gas flow rate of 100 x 10³ m³/d, a flow rate of 150 x 10³ m³/d exceeds the discharge limit and is pollution. If the discharge also exceeds quality criteria or standards, such as the National Ambient Air Quality Objectives or the Northwest Territories Ambient Air Quality Standards, it is considered to be significant pollution.

7.2 “Near-miss”

“Near-miss” is defined in subsections 1(1) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR as an event that would likely cause an event set out in paragraph (a) of the definition of “incident”, but does not, due to particular circumstances.

Sections 75 of the DPR and the OGOA DPR do not differentiate between the information requirements for near-misses and incidents. As such, companies must provide equivalent reports for both types of events to the Board.

7.3 Reporting Timelines

Paragraphs 75(1)(a) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR state that the operator must ensure that the Board is notified of any incident or near-miss “as soon as the circumstances permit”. In this context, this phrase is substantively the same as “immediately”; therefore the notification period is the same as the notification periods that is expected where the term “immediately” appears. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this notification.

Paragraphs 75(1)(b) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR require that the Board be notified at least 24 hours in advance of any press release or press conference held by the operator concerning any incident or near-miss, except in an emergency situation, in which case the Board shall be notified without delay before the press release or press conference.

In these cases, companies must call the NEB Incident Phone line at (403) 807-9473 and indicate the subject of the press release or conference, the date and time of occurrence, and the relevant company personnel’s contact information.

In addition to notification, paragraphs 75(2)(b) of the DPR and the OGOA DPR require companies to submit an investigation report identifying the root cause, causal factors, and corrective action taken to the Board no later than 21 days after the day on which the incident or near-miss occurred for the following incidents or near-misses:

  • a lost or restricted workday injury;
  • death;
  • fire or explosion;
  • a loss of containment of any fluid from a well;
  • an imminent threat to the safety of a person, installation or support craft; and
  • a significant pollution event.

Companies should refer to section 11 for additional information on reporting information requirements.

8.0 OGOA and COGOA – Geophysical Operations Regulations

8.1 Serious accident or incident reporting

Section 39 of the OGOA GOR and section 40 of the GOR require the notification for any serious accident or incident that occurs during a geophysical operation and that:

  • causes injury to or loss of life of any person;
  • causes damage to property; or
  • that constitutes a threat to the environment.

“Damage to property” and “threat to the environment” have been identified as requiring additional guidance and are clarified below.

8.1.1 “Property”

Property includes, but is not limited to:

  • land;
  • buildings;
  • vehicles;
  • equipment owned by the operator;
  • equipment such as hunting/trapping/fishing gear owned by a third party.

8.1.2 “Threat to the environment”

Threats to the environment include, but are not limited to:

  • fuel spills outside of lined containment;
  • blocking of game trails with windrows;
  • explosive charges that misfire;
  • cratered holes that are susceptible to erosion; or
  • natural gas or water flowing from a shot hole.

8.2 Reporting timelines

Section 39 of the OGGOR and section 40 of the COGOA require every operator to inform the Chief Conservation Officer and the Chief Safety Officer immediately, by the most rapid and practical means, of any serious accident or incident. Notification via the online reporting system or through the TSB incident hotline meets the requirements of informing the Chief Conservation and Safety Officers.

9.0 Canada Oil and Gas Installations Regulations (COGIR) and Oil and Gas Installations Regulations (OGOIR)

9.1 Emergency or accident reporting

Subsections 71(1) of the COGIR and the OGOIR require every operator to inform the Chief Safety Officer of any situation or event involving any danger or accident to a person or property and lists events that qualify as such.

9.2 Reporting timelines

Subsection 71(1) requires every operator to inform the Chief Safety Officer of any of the listed situations or events “by the most rapid and practical” means. Notification via the OERS or through the TSB incident hotline meets the requirements of informing the Chief Conservation and Safety Officers. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this notification.

Subsection 71(2) also requires the submission of a “full written report” to the Chief Officer. These reports described are qualitatively the same as a DIR; therefore, companies must submit such reports within 12 weeks of the initial notification. See section 11 of this document for additional guidance on contents of this report.

10.0 OGOA and COGOA – Diving Regulations

10.1 Accident, illness, and incident reporting

Paragraphs 6(1)(i) and 6(1)(j) of the COGOA DR and the OGOA DR contain the reporting requirements in respect of accidents and serious illnesses involving members of diving crews involved in diving programs, as well incidents in connection with diving programs.

Companies should refer to section 11 for additional information on reporting information requirements.

10.2 Reporting timelines

Paragraphs 6(1)(i) and 6(1)(j) of the COGOA DR and OGOA DR require that accidents, as well as serious illnesses and incidents be reported “by the most rapid and practicable means” and “as soon as possible”, respectively. In this context, these phrases are substantively the same as “immediately”; therefore the notification periods for paragraphs 6(1)(i) and 6(1)(j) of the COGOA DR and OGOA DR are the same as the notification periods that are expected where the term “immediately” appears. Companies should refer to section 3 of this document for guidance regarding timing of this notification.

Paragraphs 6(1)(i) and 6(1)(j) of the COGOA DR and OGOA DR also require companies to submit prescribed reports pertaining to accidents, serious injuries, and incidents. These reports described are qualitatively the same as a DIR; therefore, companies must submit such reports within 12 weeks of the initial notification. See section 11 of this document for additional guidance on contents of this report.

11.0 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 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.

11.0 Information Requirements

11.1 Incident Reporting

This section applies to the following events (collectively known as incidents):

  • incidents (PPR, OPR, DPR);
  • accidents, serious illnesses, and incidents (COGOA DR and OGOA DR);
  • emergencies or accidents (COGOA IR and OGOA IR); and
  • serious accidents or incidents (GOR and OGOA GOR).

The information requirements for incident reporting are generally aligned with Annex H of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z662-11 (CSA Annex H). However, in addition to the technical details outlined in CSA Annex H, companies must provide to the Board the root cause of the incident, as well as details regarding any corrective action that was taken to prevent future occurrence.

Other reporting requirements (e.g., hazard identification under the PPR) and any additional supporting information (e.g., metallurgical analysis reports) may be uploaded directly to the OERS system for the event in question.

11.1.1 Notification and Preliminary Incident Report

For initial notifications for all incidents and PIRs (for incidents under the OPR and PPR), companies must provide, via the OERS, the following information:

  • company contact information;
  • date and time of occurrence and/or discovery;
  • how the incident was discovered (e.g., routine patrol, landowner/public reported);
  • type of incident being reported (e.g. death, release of substance, fire/explosion);
  • type of substance released and initial release volume estimate, if applicable;
  • qualitative details of incident type (e.g., broken bone if serious injury, exposure of a pipeline in a water body if operation beyond design limits, etc.);
  • nearest populated center;
  • facility name/pipeline name;
  • narrative that includes a description of the events leading up to the occurrence or discovery and any immediate actions taken to protect the safety of the public, the company’s employees, and/or the environment (e.g., evacuation, containment of product);
  • initial narrative information on the component that failed, if applicable; and
  • affected lands (e.g., restricted to company owned land, right-of-way, private land, crown land).

11.1.2 Detailed Incident Reports

For any of the following:

  • DIR under the OPR and PPR (sections 3 and 4 of this document);
  • 21 day reports under paragraphs (2)(b) of the DPR and OGOA DPR (section 6 of this document);
  •  full written reports under subsections 71(1) of the IR and OGOA IR (section 8 of this document); and
  • causal investigation reports under paragraphs 6(1)(i) and 6(1)(j) of the DR and OGOA DR (section 9 of this document),

Companies must provide, via the OERS, the following information:

  • any relevant updates to the information contained in the notification and/or preliminary incident reports;
  • detailed information on the pipeline/facility component that failed (e.g., equipment type, such as gate valve, and the component that failed, such as the valve packing), if applicable;
  • operating conditions of the pipeline/facility at the time of incident discovery (e.g. operating pressure, product type, depth of cover, etc.), if applicable;
  • maintenance history of failed component (e.g., date of last inspection/maintenance, type of inspection such as visual or non-destructive examination, etc.), if applicable;
  • corrective actions completed by the company to prevent reoccurrence of the incident at local level;
  • preventative actions completed by the company to prevent the similar incidents across its systems (if applicable);
  • root cause analysis that includes at least one immediate cause (e.g., equipment/component failure), as well as at least one basic (root) cause (e.g., normal wear and tear); and
  • supporting information (e.g., metallurgical reports), if applicable.

11.1.3 Incident Costs

The Board now expects companies to comply with cost reporting obligations, described below, for any incident that meets the following definition 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.

11.2 Near-Miss Reporting (DPR)

The information requirements for near-miss reporting are the same as incident reporting under the DPR and OGOA DPR. Therefore, companies must provide, via the OERS, the same level of detail for both incidents and near-misses.

11.3 Emergency Burning or Flaring (PPR)

Companies must provide, via the online reporting system, the following information to meet the requirements for emergency burning or flaring pursuant to section 48 of the PPR:

  • company name;
  • company contact;
  • location; and
  • a narrative summary of the events leading up to the emergency flaring or burning event.

11.4 Hazard Identification (PPR)

Companies must provide, via the OERS, the following information to meet the requirements for hazard identification pursuant to paragraph 47(b) of the PPR:

  • a proposed contingency plan;
  • a description of cause, duration, and potential impacts of the hazard;
  • repairs to be made; and
  • measures to prevent future failures.

11.6 Suspension of Operations (PPR)

Companies must provide, via the online reporting system, the following information to meet the requirements for suspension of operations pursuant to subsections 49(1.1) and (2) of the PPR:

  • details of the operations to be suspended;
  • reason for the suspension;
  • duration of the suspension; and
  • effect of the suspension on the throughput of the plant, on the safety of persons or on the environment.

11.5 Unauthorized Activity Reporting (DPR-O)

Subsection 11(2) of the DPR-O states that reports relating to the activities listed in subsection 11(1) must include details of every contravention of DPR-A, or of any damage to a reporting company’s pipe, including the cause and nature of the damage. To this end, the information requirements for unauthorized activity reporting are:

  • contact information for company and violator (if known);
  • location of event in decimal degrees to 4 decimal places;
  • pipeline name that the event occurred on;
  • how the event was discovered;
  • a description of the events leading up to the discovery of the event;
  • a description of the damage that was caused or could be caused by the event;
  • whether the pipeline was damaged;
  • a description of any actions the company has taken; and
  • the reason for the violation.

11.6 Damage to Pipeline Notification

In circumstances where damage to a pipeline occurs or is discovered and does not fall under the definition of “Unauthorized Activities”, companies are directed to notify the Board via the “Notifications” event types in OERS. The information provided must include, but is not limited to:

  • Company name
  • Company contact
  • Location of event in decimal degrees to 4 decimal places;
  • Type of damage (e.g. coating scratch, gouge, dent, compression)
  • How the damage was discovered
  • Probable cause of the damage (i.e. unauthorized activity, original construction, maintenance after construction)
  • Probable party that caused the damage (i.e. 3rd party, contractor to company, company personnel)
  • Whether the damage needs to be corrected and the type of repair
  • Description of circumstances

11.7 Suspension of Consent (DPR-O)

In circumstances where a company suspends consent previously given under the DPR-A, the company must provide a report to OERS that includes but is not limited to:

  • Company Name
  • Company Contact
  • When the Revocation occurred
  • The type of party (e.g. municipality, landowner) that had their authorization revoked
  • Reason for revocation
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