National Energy Board to publish pipeline inspection reports online

CALGARY – The National Energy Board is making more information about the safety of pipelines it regulates available to the public.

Starting immediately, inspection reports are going to be posted on the regulator’s website.

Chris Loewen, vice-president of operations at the board, says the watchdog does about 150 of those inspections a year.

At one time, the NEB was a low-profile agency but it’s been registering much higher on the public’s radar in recent years amid controversy over new energy developments.

Loewen says a big consideration has been making sure the reports aren’t too dense and technical for the general public, so it’s been training inspectors in the field to write them in an accessible manner.

He says the companies regulated by the NEB have been brought up to speed with the plans, but it’s hard to say how enthusiastic they are about it.

The reports will be posted online within six weeks of an inspection taking place. They will include detailed findings, outcomes and any enforcement action.

The chair of the NEB, Peter Watson, did a cross-country tour earlier this year with the aim of understanding Canadians’ concerns and demystifying the regulator’s work.

Loewen said based on those discussions, he suspects there’s a big public appetite for the inspection information.

“It’s all about doing the right thing,” he said in an interview.

“Frankly, it’s in the public interest and it’s the kind of information that Canadians are really interested in and that they deserve.”

Loewen said the move is part of a wider effort to “modernize” the NEB and make it more transparent.

The NEB oversees 2,117 energy facilities and 73,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada, which transported 1.27 billion barrels of petroleum products last year.

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