Year in review: Six key developments of 2017

The holiday season is a good time to reflect on the year that has passed, and look ahead to what’s coming in the new year. 2017 was a year of challenges and opportunities for the pipeline industry as the range of issues surrounding pipelines grew with significant impacts.

Here are six key developments that helped shape an eventful year in 2017:

Project approvals

In March, President Trump approved the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, clearing the way for the 1,897 kilometre project that will run from Alberta to refineries in the U.S. KXL cleared its final hurdle in Nebraska in November when the state’s Public Service Commission approved an alternate route for the project.

Delays and cancellations 

Construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) was supposed to begin in 2017, however challenges with permitting and regulatory approvals have resulted in delays. TransCanada was forced to make a difficult decision in October, when it announced it would not move forward with its Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline Project, following regulatory changes and uncertainty.

Progress on other projects

From an expansion to Pembina’s pipeline network in northeastern B.C., to Inter Pipeline’s approval of a major plant that will convert propane to plastic, CEPA members made great progress in 2017. Significant investments were also made to expand a natural gas pipeline network in Alberta and B.C. over the next four years.

Regulatory uncertainty

The industry faced regulatory uncertainty on several fronts in 2017. While the federal government dug deeper into the details of its review into the way pipeline projects are approved and regulated, concerns grew about the industry’s ability to remain competitive in the global market.

Energy transition

Canada’s move to a low-carbon energy future dominated discussions in 2017. The transmission pipeline industry will play a constructive role in the transition and will remain a critical part of Canada’s energy future as the country strives to meet its environmental targets.

No matter what is happening in the industry, our number one priority is always safety. The transmission pipeline industry is more focused than ever on continuously improving our operations to reach our goal of zero incidents. CEPA’s members are working together through our signature program, CEPA Integrity First®, sharing information and learnings to better the industry as a whole.

The transmission pipeline industry is a major economic driver for Canada, and oil and gas will continue to play an important role in fueling Canadians’ lifestyles for years to come. In 2018, as CEPA celebrates our 25th anniversary, we will remain focused on safety and ensuring we are delivering the energy Canadians need in the safest and most responsible way.