9 facts you might not know about Canadian pipelines

For most of us, it takes our furnace going out on a cold day or a bad storm interrupting electricity supply to get us thinking about where our energy comes from. As such, most people may not know that Canada has more than 840,000 kilometres of liquids and natural gas pipelines which include transmission, gathering and distribution pipelines.

Quietly and reliably, pipelines deliver the fuels essential to our lives in Canada.

Here are a few other facts about Canadian pipelines that might just surprise you.


The numbers


  1. If laid end to end, our natural gas and liquids pipelines could circle the equator about 20 times.
  2. Crude oil moves through the pipeline at five kilometres per hour – that’s roughly walking speed. And natural gas moves through pipelines at up to 40 kilometres per hour.
  3. There are 121,000 kilometres of transmission pipelines in Canada. That’s more than three times the length of our national highway system.
  4. Transmission pipelines range from 10 centimetres to over a metre in diameter. They take energy products over long distances. And most are operated by members of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA).


Safety performance and measures


  1. Canadian pipelines have a safe delivery rate of 99.99 per cent. They are the safest and most environmentally responsible way to deliver oil and natural gas.
  2. In 2018, CEPA members held 452 exercises to test emergency response. They carried out 2,665 digs to look for defects and make repairs, and inspected 51,563 kilometres of pipelines using smart technology.


Economic value


  1. In 2018, CEPA members spent almost $4.6 billion to obtain personnel, services, supplies and equipment from local sources, including $240 million from Indigenous suppliers.
  2. Directly and indirectly, the energy sector employs more than 800,000 people across the country.
  3. Nearly 11 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product comes from oil and gas. The industry also pays around $20 billion a year in taxes, royalties and fees to governments.


Read more in CEPA’s 2019 Performance Report.