We know to call 911 in case of an emergency, to stop, drop, and roll in a fire, and to secure our own oxygen mask on an airplane before helping others. But what happens in an oil and gas incident or emergency?
That’s where the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER’s) 24-hour response line comes in. Inspection and emergency response staff are on call throughout the province, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-222-6514 if
- you notice an energy-related incident like an oil spill or pipeline leak;
- you have a complaint about a specific energy activity or operation, such as sour gas odours or noise; or
- you have concerns about a company’s operations but don’t know its contact information.
Tyler Callicott, manager of Enforcement and Surveillance, notes that responding to oil and gas incidents and emergencies is the AER’s top priority.
“Unfortunately, we’re often a last resort for people who have been dealing with an issue for a long time,” said Callicott. “With things like noise complaints, the sooner you call, the sooner we can get it resolved.”
An AER representative will help resolve the issue by sending inspectors or emergency responders to the scene or by helping you to get in touch with the right people.
Angela Bowditch, an AER engagement specialist, also encourages people to use the response line.
“The fire department or even the police will get calls about odour complaints and will sometimes try to track down a well in the middle of a field,” she said. “But that’s exactly what our inspectors are trained to do. We want folks to know that this number is there for them.”
According to Bowditch, there are three things that will help the AER respond to your call:
- Provide the location as best you can, either with GPS coordinates or with visible landmarks.
- Give a detailed description of the incident.
- Describe the source of the incident, such as a wellsite or pipeline. If you aren’t sure, try to provide information about any industrial activity in the area (e.g., oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.)
Most important, don’t put yourself in harm’s way to get this information.
You should also know that callers can choose to remain anonymous and that the AER will follow up with anyone who wants to know the outcome of the incident.