MRO Magazine

Backlash: Pipeline industry rejects notion Canadian pipelines are unsafe


December 14, 2011
By PEM Magazine

Responding to a recent report that indicated potential gaps in regulatory oversight, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) says it does not in any way mean that the Canadian pipeline industry is unsafe.

"Commitment to safety is our industry’s number one priority," the association said in a press release, responding to the report by the Federal Commissioner of the Environment and of Sustainable Development (covered in PEM recently). "It is in our best interest and of the public to operate a safe and reliable system. As a result of that commitment, we transport oil and gas products 365 days a year with a reliability factor of 99.98 percent.  We are the safest mode of transportation of energy products."

The association says the industry assesses and adopts new technologies and shares best practices continuously: "Our industry has adopted the CEPA Integrity First Program, an industry-wide management system whose goal is to reach zero pipeline incidents. In fact, Canadian pipeline operators are responsible for having developed many state of the art technical advancements and our pipelines are among the safest in the world."

CEPA is very concerned when reports fail to provide context to their stories and create unnecessary public fears when the facts clearly show that the opposite is true.


"One of the assertions made is that aging pipelines are a problem in Canada," the release stated. "That is not true.

"Pipeline operators adopt different management procedures and controls based on the characteristics of a particular pipeline system including age. Similar to a home, a 50-year-old home can be as safe and livable as a five-year-old home if you adopt proper maintenance procedures."

As an industry that has built a vast network of energy highways for the past 60 years that has allowed Canadians to enjoy affordable, reliable and safe use of energy, the association is says it is proud of the industry’s record and responsibilities to the public we serve.

CEPA represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate more than 100,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada and the United States. Its members transport 97 percent of Canada’s daily crude oil and natural gas from producing regions to markets throughout North America.