Pipeline Safety Investigation P13H0107

Table of contents


TransCanada PipeLines Limited (NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.)
North Central Corridor Loop (Buffalo Creek West Section)
Chainage 27+996 m
Near Fort McMurray, Alberta

View final report

The occurrence

At about 0235 Mountain Standard Time on 17 October 2013, a pipeline rupture occurred on TransCanada PipeLines Limited’s (NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.) 914-mm-diameter (36-inch-diameter) North Central Corridor Loop Buffalo Creek West Section pipeline, located southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The rupture occurred in a remote location, approximately 150 m west of the Wabasca River (Chainage 27+996 m). At the time of the rupture, the pipeline was transporting sweet natural gas. A crater was created and 5 fragments of pipe were ejected up to approximately 130 m from the rupture site. An estimated 16.5 million cubic metres of natural gas was released. The rupture did not result in a fire. There were no injuries and no evacuation was required.

Media materials

News release


Thermal expansion on elbow joint led to October 2013 pipeline rupture near Fort McMurray, Alberta
Read the news release

Deployment notice


Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys an investigator to a natural gas pipeline rupture west of Fort McMurray, Alberta

Gatineau, Quebec, 18 October 2013 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has deployed an investigator to the site of a natural gas pipeline rupture located approximately 140 km west of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence

  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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