The chance of a bitumen supertanker disaster during the operating lifespan of the Northern Gateway? The research suggests it's a near certainty, at least if you consider a 93 to 99 per cent chance nearly certain. Enbridge was claiming an 18% chance of tanker mishap.
Along the Northern Gateway pipeline itself, Enbridge figures it will have one spill every two years. The Simon Fraser University researchers estimate fifteen spills each and every year. That's thirty times worse than what Enbridge is claiming.
Lead author Dr. Tom Gunton, director of the School of Resource and Environmental Management at SFU suggests that Enbridge may have cooked the risk books.
"What we found was there were 28 deficiencies in (Enbridge's) risk assessment model. The database Enbridge used under-reports the number of tanker incidents by between 38 and 96 per cent," he said.
"They made no attempt to correct that under-reporting."
The other problem with Enbridge's risk assessment, said Gunton, is that it fails to use the standardized model used by the U.S. government.
The U.S. Oil Spill Risk Analysis model, which was developed in 1975 by the federal government, and is used by companies around the world to evaluate offshore oil-spill risks.