Imperial Oil speaks up on pipeline shutdown impacting Winnipeg area

It’s been four days since Imperial Oil temporarily shuttered a section of pipeline near St. Adolphe, Man.

Imperial made the announcement on Sunday, saying the pipeline — which supplies gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to the Winnipeg area — was shut down March 15 following integrity concerns.

The announcement was made two days later so the company could “(work) through the steps that we needed to take, and kind of working with our other partners that shop on the line,” Keri Scobie, manager of public and governmental affairs at Imperial Oil’s Strathcona refinery and for Western Canada, told 680 CJOB’s The Start.

She said the pipeline was shuttered proactively.

“We do have sort of routine inspections that we do all the time — a preventative maintenance program,” Scobie said.

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“When we were doing one of our inspections earlier this year, we did sort of identify and issue with a section of pipeline that goes under the Red River just south of Winnipeg.”

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She said the issue was increased strain on the pipeline that Scobie said seems to be caused by the riverbank ground shifting.

In response, “product has been removed from the pipeline and repair work is now underway,” she said.

The manager noted that there were “no environment impacts, no impacts to the community, nothing like that that has occurred.”

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“That’s our starting place when we do any sort of maintenance on any sort of pipeline.”

In the meantime, Scobie said a supply team is working at getting a new supply chain in place to make sure Winnipeg and area has what it needs.

She said “lots of factors” play into the timeline for repairing the pipeline, but hopes the three-month estimate given by Imperial can be shortened.

“We’re doing everything we can,” she said.

Monday, the Manitoba government announced it would be taking measures to mitigate any potential impacts to the province’s economy, saying there’s about a week’s worth of gasoline in Winnipeg’s terminals.

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That same day, Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham said the city has been working internally to make sure everything continues to run smoothly.

He said fuel would be prioritized so that emergency services would not be interrupted.

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Businesses impacted by pipeline shutdown

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