Small oilfield fire draws interest from national security investigators
CROSSFIELD — An organization that investigates national security threats doesn’t believe a fire at a southern Alberta energy site was pre-meditated, but is looking into it anyway.
The RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Team is trying to determine exactly what happened Saturday night at the site southwest of Crossfield, about 50 kilometres north of Calgary.
Mounties say the small fire happened at an oilfield pipe riser and was contained to some plug openings connected to the valves of the pipes.
“At this point, nothing shows that this is a co-ordinated or a planned thing. At this point we perceive it to be just a mischief by some individual,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Denis Rivais, a spokesman for the national security team, said Monday.
Rivais said the pipe riser is where sour gas gets fed into a hub and shipped to the rest of the province.
Rivais said one of the unit’s mandates is to review threats to critical infrastructure, so its investigators were originally called about the damage to the pipe riser.
“Since we began the investigation, rather than hand it off to someone else, we’re continuing on with the lead.”
No one was hurt and the flow of natural gas to the site was closed by Direct Energy workers. Gas already in the pipes was allowed to burn off.
The integrated team is made up of specially trained members of the RCMP and other law enforcement and national security partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. It investigates all national security criminal threats.
There are about 400,000 kilometres of provincially regulated energy pipelines criss-crossing the province. That doesn’t include federally regulated or smaller distribution pipelines.