CALGARY – The National Energy Board was investigating a leak in a TransCanada (TSX:TRP) natural gas pipeline in a remote corner of northwestern Alberta on Thursday.
“TransCanada has had a rupture on its NOVA gas transmission line system,” said board spokeswoman Rebecca Taylor. “The pipeline is currently shut down and we have NEB inspectors currently en route to the location.”
Company spokesman Shawn Howard said a drop in pressure on the line, 140 kilometres west of Fort McMurray, was detected about 2:50 a.m. Thursday. TransCanada crews were on the ground to secure and isolate the affected area.
No public safety threat was expected from the leak in the 92-centimetre-wide pipe. It carries sweet gas, which is low in poisonous hydrogen sulphide.
The nearest residence is about 50 kilometres away. Although a work camp is located a couple of kilometres from the site, Taylor said it had not been evacuated.
“Natural gas, particularly sweet natural gas, does tend to dissipate quite quickly into the atmosphere,” Taylor said. “You wouldn’t see pooling of product on the ground.”
First Nations in the area were notified of the leak, she added.
TransCanada isn’t yet sure what impact the leak may have on gas customers in the area, Howard said.
A spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board said the agency was aware of the leak and was following up with the company to gather more information. No decision had been made by Thursday afternoon to send investigators.