After persistently prodding the National Energy Board, pipeline critic David Ellis finally got a report on Kinder Morgan’s two oil spills along the Trans Mountain pipeline route. The spills happened last June, and had temporarily shut the pipeline down for investigation.
What he saw on page two of Kinder Morgan’s Engineering Assessment floored him. It stated that instead of just 20-25 barrels spilled near the Coquihalla Canyon, the pipeline leaked well over quadruple that amount.
Ellis had wondered why Kinder Morgan was removing some 5,005 cubic metres (over 600 truckloads) of oil-contaminated soil from the area. It seemed excessive, which led him to comment at the time: “there’s been more oil spilled than [Kinder Morgan] is saying.”
His suspicions were confirmed by the report, which said a subsequent analysis “resulted in a revised estimated release volume of approximately 18 m3” — or about 113 barrels of oil spilled in the park area.
At the time that he started voicing his concerns about it, Kinder Morgan attacked his credentials and maintained that the large volume of soil was being removed only to “meet strict clean up criteria because of its location within a provincial park.” But the latest report suggests it was because the spill was bigger than people originally thought.
Both Kinder Morgan and the NEB said that the company took all the appropriate steps to contain the spill once it started.
“The initial estimate of volume was exactly that, an estimate,” said Kinder Morgan spokesperson Andy Galarnyk. “As remediation work continued we updated the volume estimate based on levels of contamination discovered.”
He said there was “no further leakage after the initial discovery” and that the leak was “repaired permanently, immediately”.