News Release 2011-02-16 (NR2011-05)


News Release 2011-02-16 (NR2011-05)

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Calgary, Alberta (February 16, 2011) The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) acknowledges that its news release issued earlier today regarding a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) pipeline safety report was based on an earlier version of the report. However, in reviewing the final version, the ERCB determined that all of the key data and allegations that the ERCB expressed its concerns over are present in the final NRDC report and remain incorrect, including:

  1. Alberta pipelines have had a higher failure rate than similar U.S. pipelines due to leaks caused by internal corrosion from transportation of diluted bitumen (DilBit), and
  2. Diluted bitumen is more corrosive than conventional crude products and is more likely to result in pipeline failures.

The NRDC's response to the ERCB news release this afternoon did nothing to correct the flaws in their report:

  1. The NRDC continues to claim that diluted bitumen is more corrosive to pipelines than conventional crude oil, which it is not. In terms of pipelines potentially shipping bitumen and blends of bitumen, the ERCB can identify only eight spills due to internal corrosion between 1975 and 2010.
  2. The NRDC report continues to allege that transporting raw oil sands materials and diluted bitumen would pose risks for transmission lines such as the Keystone pipeline. There is no indication that diluted bitumen, such as that proposed for the Keystone pipeline, is more corrosive than conventional crude oil.

The NRDC mention in their response that they would like to "continue a dialogue" with the ERCB. The ERCB would be pleased to engage in a dialogue to assist the NRDC in understanding the facts on Alberta’s oil sands. 

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This news release is available on the ERCB website at For more information, contact:

Davis Sheremata, ERCB Communications
Phone: 403-605-4216