Year in review: 4 ways the pipeline industry changed in 2014

The role of pipelines in Canada was hotly contested in 2014. You’ve probably seen footage of pipeline protests and read economic arguments from pipeline proponents.

But, while all this debating was going on, what was the pipeline industry doing to address Canadians’ concerns?

Here are four ways the industry has worked this year to earn the trust of Canadians.

1. The industry listened to critics

Pipeline operators took a big step in 2014 to better understand the concerns of critics and stakeholders. CEPA invited eight people, who work outside the industry, to be part of an External Advisory Panel (EAP). These panellists represent a variety of backgrounds including Aboriginal Peoplesacademia, media and landowner groups and now meet regularly with CEPA to share their ideas and concerns.

Why this matters: Listening to feedback from critics and stakeholders will help the industry continuously improve by giving CEPA insight on how it can address issues that matter to Canadians.

Read posts from our “pipeline perspectives” blog series to learn the candid thoughts of some of the EAP members.

2. Pipeline companies came together to make pipelines safer 

Through the CEPA Integrity First® program, pipeline companies worked together in 2014 to finalize guidance documents outlining industry best practices and requirements for pipeline integrity and emergency management. Plus, a guidance document on control room management is currently being pilot tested.

Why this matters: CEPA Integrity First is about making sure Canada’s pipeline network remains one of the most environmentally sound and safest in the world. These guidance documents help ensure all CEPA’s members are continuously improving their performance by constantly evaluating their systems, processes and practices.

Read more here.

3. The industry worked towards improving relationships with landowners

In April, CEPA announced that land representatives (such as land agents and community relations personnel) who work for its member companies that operate federally-regulated pipelines now have to complete CEPA’s land representatives industry orientation. They also have to agree to a code of conduct (PDF) and complete professional ethics training, which will give all representatives a common set of principles and values to govern their interactions with landowners.

Why this matters: This program will help ensure dialogue between land representatives and Canadian landowners is respectful, consistent, accurate and transparent.

Read more here.

4. Pipeline companies joined forces to improve emergency response

In September, CEPA’s members took part in a joint emergency management exercise. This “coming together” of companies was unprecedented and helped strengthen the industry’s ability to work together in the event of an emergency. The exercise was aimed at testing the Mutual Emergency Assistance Agreement, which CEPA’s members signed in late 2013. The agreement formalized the industry practice of sharing resources between companies in the event of a significant incident 

Why this matters: The industry’s number one priority is zero incidents, but if a leak occurs, pipeline companies will have improved their ability to respond quickly and effectively by working together.

Read more here.

Get involved in the conversation

So, what will the pipeline conversation look like in 2015? The industry will continue to take steps to improve performance and earn the trust of Canadians, but what happens in the debate is up to you.

Tell us what role you think pipelines should play in Canada’s future by visiting, or share your story on social media using the hashtag #keepCAmoving.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2013, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.3 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.