According to the NEB, the recommendations build on the regulator’s proactive approach to addressing this issue and the regulator says it is leading the way for industry in advancing the quality assurance of pipeline fittings.  Trans Mountain photo.

There are thousands of fittings, including elbows, tees and reducers, on NEB-regulated pipeline systems

The National Energy Board published its Recommendations to Improve Quality Assurance of Quenched and Tempered Fittings white paper on Tuesday.

The NEB report provides recommendations for enhanced quality assurance of integral components of Canada’s transmission pipeline systems – quenched and tempered fittings.

Iain Colquhoun, Chief Engineer at the National Energy Board says “This white paper and its recommendations equally reflects our ongoing commitment to working with, and positively influencing industry to help keep people and the environment safe.”

There are thousands of fittings, including elbows, tees and reducers, on NEB-regulated pipeline systems.  Proper and traceable manufacturing, distribution and procurement helps ensure the safe operation of more than 73,000 km of pipeline currently under NEB jurisdiction.

In recent years, the National Energy Board says it has become aware of instances where quenched and tempered pipe and fittings, with yield strength properties lower than specified, had been installed on pipeline systems under the NEB’s and other regulatory bodies’ jurisdiction.

Quenching and tempering is a heat treatment process used to obtain a balance of strength and toughness in steel components.

The recommendations build on the NEB’s proactive approach to addressing this issue and the regulator says it is leading the way for industry in advancing the quality assurance of pipeline fittings.

In addition to encouraging proactive and timely actions by regulated companies, such as requiring full traceability for fittings from suppliers and conducting quality audits of their manufacturers, the report identifies opportunities to add specificity to the National Energy Board’s regulatory framework and also offers recommendations for standards bodies, manufacturers and distributors.

To date, there have been no reported incidents on in-service pipelines regulated by the NEB, where the root-cause has been attributed to non-conforming quenched and tempered fittings.