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Asset Safety Record

At Spectra Energy, we have a strong safety record. Over the past five years, the incident rate for Spectra Energy’s U.S. onshore natural gas pipelines and facilities is roughly half the rate of the industry average.

While we already have a strong safety record and implement rigorous safety practices, our goal is zero incidents. No incident is acceptable. When issues are identified, we work hard to quickly, safely and properly remedy the situation as well as learn from them in order to continuously improve.

Incidents

From 2011-2015, Spectra Energy's reportable incidents were less than half the rate of the industry average. Offshore (Gulf of Mexico) pipelines are not included in this chart as PHMSA typically tracks offshore incidents separately based on a set of circumstances unique to offshore pipelines. (More information on offshore pipelines)

Less than 1% of Spectra Energy's incident costs were related to non-Spectra Energy properties. The rest - more than 99% - affected only Spectra Energy assets. Spectra Energy paid for 100% of these costs.

More information: Incident Definition & Categories

According to statistics published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, interstate natural gas transmission pipelines are the safest form of transportation in the United States.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) routinely inspects our pipelines and facilities. PHMSA has the authority to issue enforcement actions if they identify a possible non-compliance or safety concern, either through the inspection process or any other time concerns are identified.

Enforcement actions may also be issued after a pipeline incident. PHMSA has a number of categories for enforcement, including:

  • Warning Letters
  • Notice of Amendment
  • Notice of Probable Violation
  • Compliance Order
  • Safety Order
  • Corrective Action Order

For a description of each type of enforcement action and a view of PHMSA's process, please click here.

The USDOT PHMSA inspects our pipelines routinely throughout the year. From 2011 through 2015, Spectra Energy’s natural gas pipelines have received twenty-six (26) enforcement actions from PHMSA that include:

  • Warning Letters - 6
  • Notice of Amendments - 10
  • Notice of Probable Violations - 10, with 5 Compliance Orders

To put these numbers in perspective, during this same period, this is about 2.5% of the total industry enforcement actions initiated by PHMSA.

Since 2011, Spectra Energy has received enforcement actions in the following general categories:

  1. Documentation (incorrect or additional needed)
  2. Timing Related
  3. Procedural

All of these notices from PHMSA have been or are being addressed, and we continually strive to improve our documentation, procedures and programs.

The following are common issues found in most of these enforcement actions:

  1. Documentation:  We work hard to continuously improve documentation processes and related personnel training to ensure compliance with regulations.
    1. Incorrect Documentation - Many of the documentation issues are related to a change from paper forms to the electronic recording of work, and the field personnel's understanding of this transition. Other documentation issues include entering incorrect values or unsigned forms.
    2. Additional Documentation - A number of findings are related to USDOT's higher expectations for documentation of work performed.
  2. Timing Related: We work to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations, including all time-sensitive procedures. A variety of factors determine timing for specific work activities, as is shown in the examples below.

    Example:  Inspection and operation of valves classified as "emergency valves":

    In some cases, some non-emergency valves (valves which will never be used in an emergency) were misclassified as "emergency valves." Thus, PHMSA expected these valves to be treated as emergency valves, which require more detailed and more frequent maintenance documentation.  These valves have now been reclassified as non-emergency valves, as they should have been classified originally.

    Example:  Cathodic Protection Remediation:

    Cathodic Protection is a technique to protect our natural gas facilities from corrosion. The regulations require ""prompt"" remediation for low cathodic protection readings. Low readings do not necessarily imply corrosion is actually occurring; they simply indicate a need to maintain the system to reduce the likelihood. While "prompt" is not defined in the regulations, PHMSA interprets ""prompt,"" relative to low readings, as being remediated within one year.
  3. Procedural Detail:  Some findings were related to USDOT PHMSA’s view that the level of detail in our procedures was not adequate.