Government reports continue dialogue on pipeline safety

Pipeline safety is important to Canadians. We know this because Canadians are asking the government to take an active approach on regulation and review. For example, last week the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and the Government of Alberta released two separate reports involving pipeline safety.

We encourage these discussions because pipeline safety is critical to us as well. And our member companies are committed to continuously improving. In fact, in 2012, they collectively spent $1.1 billion on maintenance and monitoring programs (both federally and provincially regulated).

Now, let’s take a look at these two reports. You can find them here:

We’ll start with the senate committee’s report. It made recommendations for natural gas distribution including that the “federal government facilitate efforts to establish a national access point for information on the location of buried infrastructure, as well as the promotion of one-call centres and call-before-you-dig initiatives.”

You can read more about CEPA’s response to the report here, but both the natural gas distribution industry and the pipeline transmission industry were happy to see the committee encourage awareness for damage prevention because identifying buried utilities before excavation protects the environment, our communities and those digging.

“Preventing damage to underground facilities, such as pipelines, is critically important to Canadians,” said Brenda Kenny, president and CEO of CEPA. “Our member companies are encouraged by the Senate committee’s focus on safety, as this is something our member companies take very seriously. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to further enhance our industry’s safety culture.”

Moving on to the second report now. Last week the Government of Alberta released the findings of an independent review conducted by Group 10 Engineering on pipeline regulation in Alberta. It made 17 recommendations for further improvement in areas such as pipeline integrity management, the safety of pipelines crossing water ways and response to pipeline incidents. Take a look at the recommendations here. Most of the recommendations fall under the responsibility of the Alberta Energy Regulator, but for CEPA, the report emphasizes the ongoing importance that regulators and the industry place on continuously improving pipeline safety.

In addition, CEPA has developed a program called CEPA Integrity First®, which addresses many of the recommendations. The purpose of the initiative is to define a common set of requirements for our member companies by jointly developing common practices and to provide increased transparency to the public through industry-wide performance tracking and reporting.

Here’s the bottom line. The pipeline industry is a responsible and reliable energy transporter that takes safety very seriously. That’s why we are continuously talking about pipeline safety and we want Canadians to be a part of that conversation.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2012, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.