Saturday, February 23, 2013

Enbridge Northern Gateway Tanker Spill Risk Calculations Discussed during Questioning Phase of Final Hearings

During Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel cross examination February 22, 2013, MP Nathan Cullen had a rather lengthy exchange with the Applicant about the way they present tanker spill risks in their Application. The relevant exchange takes place between lines 14356 and 14414 [Adobe pp. 119-124] in this transcript .

In the course of his cross examination, Mr. Cullen specifically mentioned Dr. Gerald Graham’s calculation of between an 8.7 and 14.1% chance of a spill greater than 31,500 barrels occurring. He also asked Enbridge Northern Gateway why, when calculating the chances of tanker spills occurring, they don't use ITOPF's classification system for tanker spills. Interestingly enough, Enbridge Northern Gateway itself cites the ITOPF system in its own evidence filed with the JRP, on Page 4-3 [Adobe P. 13] of this document: Section 3.8: Casualty Data Survey, TERMPOL Surveys and Studies, April 30, 2010 as follows:

"Another indicator of oil tanker performance is the number of oil spills recorded by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd (ITOPF). ITOPF records oil spill data in the following three categories:

• Small spills less than 7 tonnes (≈10 m3).

• Medium spills of 7 to 700 tonnes (≈10 to 1,000 m3).

• Large spills greater than 700 tonnes."

Not surprisingly, Enbridge Northern Gateway’s responses to Mr. Cullen's enquiries were somewhat inconclusive. However, Mr. Cullen deserves credit for raising these issues before the Panel, and getting them on the official record.

If any Enbridge Northern Gateway Intervenor wishes to take this a step further, when the Applicant is cross examined in the course of the Shipping and Navigation Witness Panel ( which is expected to convene March 18, 2013 ) they could be asked, via an Undertaking, perhaps, to formally present their tanker spill risk calculations in terms of barrels ( the Application, for instance, refers to a pipeline with a capacity of 525,000 barrels per day- not 83,468.3298 m3! ) and probabilities, and to classify spill sizes the way ITOPF does. And even if they balk at these suggestions, if enough Intervenors raise the same issue, the Joint Review Panel itself might feel inclined or compelled to require Enbridge Northern Gateway to do so, under an Information Request, for instance.


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