Setting new standards for pipeline engineers—with help from the land down under

CEPA member company pipeline engineers can now get access to a new set of technical standards that will help them shape their careers and ensure companies have the right people on the job.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) has been working with its Australian counterpart for several years to bring the unique program to Canada. It was designed by the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) to help pass down the knowledge and experience of pipeline engineers, who are responsible for making critical decisions about high-pressure pipelines.


We spoke with one of the APGA’s Directors, Leon Richards, about the program and what the partnership means for Canada.


Q: You call it the “APGA Pipeline Engineering Competency System”. That is a mouthful. What is the program in a nutshell?


Pipeline engineers must have a broad knowledge of the industry and a deep knowledge in their areas of expertise. This system helps pipeline engineers prove they have the proper training, credentials, and experience to safely carry out their responsibilities.

There are two general purposes:

  • Prove that a pipeline engineer is competent to design, construct or operate an energy pipeline; and
  • Identify knowledge gaps and when pipeline engineers require further training and development.


Q: What value does this system add to Australia, and now Canada?


Safety is the number one priority for the pipeline industry – regardless of whether we are talking about Australia or Canada. This system enhances the engineering and safety of our energy pipelines by ensuring the people who are working on them are qualified.

Pipeline engineers have a wide range of sub-specialties. They are involved in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of pipelines. Each of those areas may require a different subset of skills and training.

The competency system can help operators ensure the right people are doing the right jobs so that pipelines continue to operate safely.


Q: Why is it significant that Canada and Australia are now working with the same system?


It is all about sharing knowledge and looking at ways we can all improve. We need to ensure our pipeline infrastructure systems continue to operate safely.

In some ways it is rather ironic as a lot of the original knowledge of pipelines in Australia came from Canada and America back in the 1960’s and 70’s when the Australian oil and gas pipeline industry began.

For the last several decades we have both independently been developing our pipeline standards. It is also significant that Australia can now provide a wealth of knowledge that it has gained through its experience, research and development, and share that with others globally.

The system was developed specifically for the Australian regulatory system. It has now been further improved and customized for Canadian standards.

Even though our pipeline operating environmental climates may be different, we all share a common goal: To ensure the transportation of energy products in the safest and most responsible way.


Canadian rollout


CEPA has spent the last year customizing the Australian program to meet Canadian standards and regulations. It is now available by subscription to CEPA member companies.

CEPA looks forward to continuing to work with APGA in the future. Read more about the program’s launch in Canada here.

A special thanks to Leon Richards from the Australian Pipelines and Gas Association for his contribution to this blog post.