Feds Raise Questions About TransCanada Natural Gas Pipeline Operator QualificationsMar 29th, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Lead Articles, Regulation
Federal pipeline safety watchdogs have cited a natural gas subsidiary of TransCanada, the corporation behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, for alleged inadequacies in the company’s Operator Qualifications Plans and Procedures, according to documents obtained by NaturalGasWatch.org.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration’s Notice of Amendment, dated Feb. 21, 2012, details eight separate potential violations of federal pipeline safety regulation at TransCanada’s Northern Border Pipeline Co. in connection with an Oct. 28, 2010, inspection of the corporation’s facilities in Omaha, Nebraska.
Specifically, PHMSA noted that TransCanada allegedly failed to maintain an Operators Qualification manual that, among other things:
- ensured operators were fully trained in the company’s own Operations and Procedures manual, and
- included a process to make certain that newly-acquired company personnel and contractors are qualified to operate TranCanada pipeline equipment, should the corporation purchase another pipeline company, and,
- keep track of records to certify that TransCanada operators were qualified specific tasks related to the pipeline’s operation during routine and abnormal conditions.
From the PHMSA Notice of Amendment:
TransCanada did not fully ensure through evaluation that individuals performing covered tasks are qualified. In order to be qualified, an individual must be able to perform assigned covered tasks and recognize and react to abnormal conditions. TransCanada’s Operator Qualification Manual Revision 6.0, dated October 28, 2010, did not include an adequately detailed list of approved response to specific Abnormal Operating Conditions.
While the deficiencies identified by PHMSA in its Notice are certainly taken very seriously by TransCanada, the items noted are procedural in nature. They have asked us to make minor modifications to our written procedures. We are evaluating what changes need to be made and will continue to cooperate with PHMSA and take appropriate action to address their concerns.