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Case Study

Third party verification of oil spill response preparedness plans


Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC)

Asset type

Pipeline & port terminal



Client challenge

Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC), is a certified Tier 4 response organisation under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA), providing spill response services to members, including Trans Mountain.

Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC is the operator of an oil handling facility under the Canada Shipping Act (CSA) and has an agreement with WCMRC for respect of quantities of oil that are loaded and unloaded at the Westridge Terminal. The company was executing the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP), expanding the pipeline system's capacity between Strathcona County and Burnaby. The TMEP resulted in a fully twinned pipeline system with a capacity of 890,000 barrels per day, compared to the current 300,000 barrels per day. This expansion was expected to increase tanker traffic from 60 to approximately 408 tankers per year in the Increased Response Area (IRA), encompassing the Salish Sea and surrounding areas.

As part of that expansion, third-party verification for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was required for the oil spill response preparedness plans.

How we helped

The purpose of the independent verification was to verify that enhancements outlined in Trans Mountain's application to the NEB, Volume 8A – Marine Transportation, had been incorporated into WCMRC's spill response plans. It also assessed if these plans could effectively respond to spills of up to 20,000 tonnes, from an original 10,000 tonne threshold, post-Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).

The verification scope included enhancements related to spill response capabilities for a 20,000 tonnes spill within the Increased Response Area (IRA), as stipulated by CER conditions.

The assessment of enhancements to the WCMRC oil spill response procedures and plans was conducted against specified reference criteria:

• Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA, 2001) taking account of international conventions, MARPOL and subordinate regulations relevant to prevention of pollution in marine and port waters
• Response organisation standards, 1995, TP 12401 E
• Final standards response organisation response plans (1994)
• Coast Guard guidance documents 2,3 and 4 (1995)
• Industry guidance
• Stakeholder feedback
Powerful results

The independent third party verification provided the confidence for the operator and regulator that the adjustments to the oil spill response plans associated with the Trans Mountain Expansion Plan were sufficient to meet all regulatory requirements.

The statement confirms that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP) enhanced spill response planning standards and corresponding enhancements to the WCMRC oil spill response preparedness plans and resources with capability to initiate prompt response and deliver 20,000 tonnes of response capacity within 36 hours of notification, with dedicated resources staged in proximity of the tanker shipping route in the Salish Sea, have been implemented.

The report* is intended to provide evidence of the verification process and information sources reviewed.

*The scope was completed on behalf of the verification body


volume of British Columbia's coastline verified

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