Canada pipelines urged to adopt security standard


Canadian energy companies are being urged to adopt a new set of standards to protect onshore oil and gas pipelines from vandalism and sabotage as police try to solve a case of gas line bombings in British Columbia.

CSA Standards developed the set of security management rules and requirements in conjunction with the National Energy Board, which regulates pipelines that cross into the United States or span provincial boundaries.

The national standards enable pipeline operators to establish uniform systems of oversight, planning and security operations, and provide for audits for those systems, officials said.

"It gives organizations a consistent approach to the items that they should be considering, whether it's information technology security or worker security," Suzanne Kiraly, CSA's president of standards, told reporters on Wednesday.

"From start to finish, it's a consistent framework to plan their own security management," Kiraly said.

The standards were not devised in response to the British Columbia bombings, but they would help pipeline operators develop plans to help protect against and reduce the impact of such incidents, officials said.

There have been six attacks on EnCana Corp pipelines near Dawson Creek, British Columbia, since October 2008 by an unknown saboteur who has warned that bombings will continue until the energy industry pulls out of the region.

Police have yet to make any arrests.

It is not known if the new standards would have prevented the attacks, said Brenda Kenny, chief executive of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.

"Sometimes, individuals with terrorism on their mind will find a way to do damage, and to that end of the story I think it's important to recognize that there is extensive monitoring, automatic shutdown and vociferous response by law enforcement agencies and the like," Kenny said.

"But it will only help because there are learnings in those best practices that any company will take heed of and incorporate into their management systems."