Enerplus’ top priority is keeping its employees, contractors and neighbours safe. Although the possibility of an incident occurring is remote, we have prepared a site-specific Emergency Response Plan (ERP) for all areas of our operations that addresses all stages of activity from construction to production. Enerplus also maintains a corporate ERP that is used in conjunction with the site-specific ERPs.
Together, these plans work to ensure our personnel would be able to initiate a coordinated response quickly and effectively to situations that might endanger the health and safety of the public.
Enerplus has integrated the most widely used framework for command, control and coordination of emergency response called Incident Command System (ICS) into its ERPs. This framework is commonly used by regulators, authorities and emergency services and is now being readily adopted by the oil and gas industry due to its efficiency and effectiveness to deal with emergencies and to coordinate response efforts with local and regional authorities. ICS enables a flexible response in which Enerplus can draw upon resources from external organizations under a ‘unified command’ to collectively resolve unforeseen emergency situations as quickly as possible to protect the public and environment.
Emergency Response Plan (ERP)
ERPs describe the safety precautions, emergency actions and procedures that will be implemented if an incident occurs during operations, or on company property, that causes or creates the potential for a hazardous situation. The preparation of a comprehensive ERP is one of the many stringent safety measures for operations that involve sour gas that have been established by the regulatory agencies that oversee the Alberta petroleum industry. ERPs cover areas surrounding the well sites and pipelines known as Emergency Planning Zones (EPZs), which could become hazardous if an accidental hydrocarbon spill or release containing sour gas were to occur.
Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ)
EPZs take into account site-specific information such as the sour gas concentration, well release rates and pipeline operating data in the calculation of highly conservative zone distances. The exact size of the EPZ depends on many factors including the maximum potential sour gas release rate that could occur from a well, or the maximum volume of sour gas that could be released from a pipeline. Roads and river valleys are also considered when assessing the overall emergency response impacts.