The Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) has announced that it will post its inspection reports of the country's 73,000 km pipeline it oversees on the regulator's website.
The decision is meant to improve transparency in an industry that traditionally has been reluctant to disclose data relating to its operations. It is also one fully in line with the expectations of the Canadian public.
Chris Loewen, vice-president of operations at the board, says the watchdog does about 150 of those inspections a year. A big consideration, he said, has been making sure the reports aren’t too dense and technical for the general public, so it’s been training inspectors in the field to write them in an accessible manner. He added that companies regulated by the NEB have been brought up to speed with the plans, but it’s hard to say how enthusiastic they are about it.
At one time, the NEB was a low-profile agency but it’s been registering much higher on the public’s radar in recent years amid controversy over new energy developments. It will be interesting to see to what extent the NEB's quest for transparency will reverberate with its North American neighbors in the United States.