What are transmission pipelines?

Transmission pipelines are large, underground pipelines that transport oil and gas products over long distances.

Because they are unseen, people may not know much about Canada’s extensive transmission pipeline system and how it’s built, managed and maintained. CEPA members (Canada’s transmission pipeline companies) operate 119,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada – that’s almost three times the length of our national highway system.

These pipelines transported 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2015. CEPA members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and onshore crude oil production from producing regions to markets throughout North America. The value of these exports in 2014 was $81 billion.

But how do pipelines touch our daily lives? Seventy-two per cent of the energy Canadians need is supplied by oil or gas, and most of energy is delivered by pipelines. That’s why it’s important to understand their role and how they operate.

Stockpile of pipe - Alliance Pipeline What’s in the PipelineWhat products do pipelines transport?
How Pipelines WorkHow do pipelines work?

You Asked

“Say you have a breach in a length of pipeline somewhere in the heart of the Rockies, and for argument’s sake, let’s say the breach is in the most remote area of the pipeline route. How long until the breach is detected, how long until the oil flow is stopped due to a pressure drop and the activation of the safety valves, and how long until it can be repaired?” – Alex O. (Burnaby, B.C.)
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