Open Data: Alberta oil spills 1975-2013

A boom stretches out to contain a pipeline leak on the Gleniffer reservoir near Innisfail, Alta., Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press

The starting point for a Global News series examining oil spills in Alberta was a database of “releases” from the oil and gas industry that we obtained from Alberta’s energy regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board.

Read the series here.

That database included over 61,000 incidents recorded by the ERCB. It was not especially easy to get.

Global News is now offering this information to the public for download.

Global News believes that the release of this data is in the public interest. We take no position on what is contained in this database or the quality of the information.

This information is as we received it from ERCB, with one addition: latitude and longitude coordinates to the legal subdivision level, because the Alberta Township System coordinates given in the file were very difficult to map. These coordinates were converted and provided to Global News by Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development department.

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Entries include information on the date, location, source, failure type, licensee name and details on the volume and type of material spilled. The file is provided as a .CSV text file.

Download the file here


This file shows all releases reported to the ERCB between January 1, 1975 and February 4, 2013. There are three entries before 1975, but in this database anyway, reporting seems unreliable before then.

Reporting requirements are outlined in this ERCB brochure. This database only includes releases that meet these criteria.

Note that these numbers do not include any releases from pipelines which cross provincial or national boundaries, as these are not under the ERCB’s jurisdiction.

The latitude and longitude coordinates show the centre point of each Alberta Township System Legal Subdivision that was given in the data.

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