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How safe are our pipelines?

CEPA’s annual performance report shows pipeline performance safe, with focus on continuous improvement.

Every year, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) puts out a Transmission Pipeline Industry Performance Report that highlights how its members performed in the areas of safety, the environment and socio-economic priorities. The most recent report, which captures performance data and statistics from 2017, reveals two important things: transmission pipelines are critical to our lives, and – they’re safe. 

“This report is a reflection of the entire industry’s commitment to continuous improvement,” says Karl Johannson, CEPA Board Chair and Executive Vice-President in the report. “Pipelines play a vital role for Canada, which makes our commitment equally vital to build a positive energy future.”

Critical infrastructure 

From gasoline to fuel our vehicles, to natural gas to heat our homes, we often take energy supply for granted. We rarely think about the extensive yet unseen system of transmission pipelines making our lives possible. 

“Pipelines play a vital role for Canada, which makes our commitment equally vital to build a positive energy future.”

Karl Johannson

Transmission pipelines are unsung heroes supporting our everyday life. And with CEPA’s member companies delivering 97 per cent of the crude oil and natural gas Canadians count on, the performance of those pipelines is critical.

In 2017, CEPA members safely delivered more than 1.4 billion barrels of crude oil and 5.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. They did this using 117,800 kilometres of transmission pipelines – that’s equivalent to three times the length of Canada’s highway system, or about three times around the world. 

Across the country, in 2017 there were three significant pipeline incidents. But, as Chris Bloomer, CEPA President and CEO says in the report, “We are proud of our industry’s performance and how we are prepared to respond in the unlikely event of an incident. CEPA members are committed to a common goal of zero incidents – no incident is acceptable.”

It’s about integrity 

Environmental performance is only part of the big picture: worker safety is equally important to the industry. As of 2017, CEPA members directly employed more than 13,000 Canadians. The better news? All of them returned home safely at the end of each work day. 

CEPA continues advance its flagship Integrity First program. CEPA member companies work collectively to strengthen the pipeline industry’s performance in safety, environmental protection and socio-economic practices by sharing knowledge and innovations. According to the report, CEPA members invested $22.2 million in innovative technology in 2017, focused on reducing pipeline corrosion and improving pipeline inspection, leak detection and damage prevention.

“Our industry does not compete on safety,” says Johannson. “We are committed to collaboration and continuous improvement because we know Canadians expect our oil and natural gas supplies to be transported in the safest, most responsible manner possible.”

What is CEPA?

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) represents Canada's transmission pipeline companies, which operate almost 135,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada and the United States. CEPA’s 11 members include Access Pipeline, Alliance Pipeline, ATCO Pipelines, Enbridge Pipelines, Inter Pipeline, Pembina Pipeline, Plains Midstream Canada, TransCanada PipeLines, TransGas, Trans Mountain and Trans-Northern Pipelines.