Picture this – preventing incidents with technology

control rooms


Can pipeline companies shut down a pipeline if there is an issue?

Canadians often ask us how ready pipeline companies are to respond in the unlikely event of an emergency. The answer is… they are always ready. A big reason why is because pipeline companies invest in technologies that enable them to closely monitor and quickly shut down a pipeline if there is an issue.

Here are three things you should know about how CEPA members prevent incidents using technology:

  • Every CEPA member has a control room where pipelines are monitored 24/7. Every pipeline, pumping station, remote sensor, maintenance operation and patrol is monitored using a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system – similar to those used by air traffic controllers to monitor flights. Any changes in regular operation are quickly detected. If something unusual is detected, the operator can quickly shut down and isolate the pipeline remotely.
  • Pipelines are inspected from the inside using in-line inspection tools called smart pigs. Like small submarines, they travel inside a pipeline using ultrasonic technology to measure pipe thickness and metal loss. These smart pigs travel through the pipeline scanning about three metres per second, locating anything out of the ordinary, like minute cracks or signs of corrosion.
  • CEPA members use technology like aerial LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) imagery created from airborne laser sensors to monitor geohazards – like landslides or earthquakes – in real time. That means if any geohazard activity is detected near a pipeline, the line can be shut down before an incident occurs.

If you’ve got pipeline questions, share them with us here or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and we’ll try to answer them in an upcoming ‘Picture this’ post.


Keep reading! Check out these blog posts too:

Behind the scenes in a pipeline control room

Planes, patients and pipelines: the technology connection

Inside the smart pig – detecting potential pipeline problems before they happen