How long have pipelines operated in Canada?

Pipelines have operated for a long time in Canada – since 1853.

The first Canadian transmission pipeline was built in 1853. It was a 25-kilometre cast-iron pipe moving natural gas to Trois Rivières, QC. It was the longest pipeline in the world at the time.

Then in 1862, Canada built one of the world’s first oil pipelines, from the Petrolia oilfield in Petrolia, ON to Sarnia, ON.

By 1947, three oil pipelines moved products in Canada. One transported oil from Turner Valley, AB to Calgary. The second line moved imported crude from coastal Maine to Montreal, QC while a third brought American oil into Ontario.

With the discovery of an abundant supply of crude oil and natural gas in the west, Canada’s oil and gas industry began expanding its pipeline network in the 1950s.

A brief history, in pictures, of the first 80 years of Canada’s pipeline industry

Workmen digging trench for gas pipeline

Workmen digging trench for gas pipeline, Carlstadt (later Alderson), Alberta. [ca. 1911]

1912

Canadian Western Natural Gas builds a natural gas pipeline from Bow Island, AB to Calgary, AB (275 km.).

Pipeline Group beside flatbed rail car, Viking, Alberta. [ca. 1914]

Group beside flatbed rail car, Viking, Alberta. [ca. 1914]

Royalite Plant under construction, Turner Valley Alberta. [ca. 1920s]

Royalite Plant under construction, Turner Valley Alberta. [ca. 1920s]

1923

Northwestern Utilities Company Limited completes construction of a 124-kilometre natural gas pipeline and 129 kilometres of distribution pipeline from Viking, AB to Edmonton, AB.

Northwestern Utilities' pipeline at MacDougall Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta. 1923

Northwestern Utilities’ pipeline at MacDougall Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta. 1923

Natural Gas pipeline, South Side, Edmonton, Alberta. 1923

Natural gas pipeline, South Side, Edmonton, Alberta. 1923

Workers laying pipe for pipeline

Laying pipe for pipeline between Turner Valley and Calgary, southern Alberta. [ca. 1920-1929]

1941

Portland Montreal Pipe Line completes its 380 kilometre oil pipeline to transport crude oil from the port in South Portland, Maine to refineries in Montreal.

1944

The Canadian Oil Pipeline, otherwise known as Canol, completes a crude oil pipeline from Norman Wells, NT to Whitehorse, YK.

View of Trans Mountain pipeline on rugged terrain

View of rugged terrain over which the Trans Mountain pipeline was built, Jasper National Park, Alberta. [ca.1952-1953]

View of Trans Mountain Oil Pipe Line as it goes through Jasper National Park, Alberta. [ca. 1952-1953]

View of the Trans Mountain pipeline as it was built through Jasper National Park, Alberta. [ca. 1952-1953]

1950

Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc. (now Enbridge Pipelines Inc.) transports crude oil from Edmonton., AB to Superior, Wisconsin, USA.

1953

Trans Mountain Pipeline system transports crude oil from Edmonton, AB to Vancouver, BC

Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc. extends to Sarnia, ON.

Group in boardroom of Trans Canada Pipelines, Calgary, Alberta. October 27, 1954

Group in boardroom of Trans Canada Pipelines, Calgary, Alberta.
October 27, 1954

Construction of Interprovincial Pipe Line. 1950

Construction of Interprovincial Pipe Line. 1950

1954

The Pembina Pipeline system is constructed to transport crude oil from the Pembina field near Drayton Valley, AB to Edmonton, AB. The Pembina system serves one of the oldest oil producing areas in Alberta.

1955

Westcoast Transmission Company Ltd. (now Enbridge Pipelines Inc.) begins construction on a 24-inch pipeline from Taylor, BC to the USA.

1957

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. (Now TC Energy) begins construction on a natural gas pipeline across Canada.

Westcoast Transmission Company Ltd. begins transporting natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to the BC/US border.

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.’s Alberta system, known as NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. or NGTL, begins operations.

John Gold checking meters along pipe line route, Turner Valley to Calgary area, Alberta. [ca. 1947-1948]

John Gold checking meters along pipe line route, Turner Valley to Calgary area, Alberta. [ca. 1947-1948]

1976

Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc. extends to Montreal, QC.

1977

Alyeska Pipeline completes construction of its Trans Alaska Pipeline System, known as TAPS, which moves crude oil from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope to Valdez, AK, USA.

1981

Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. begins transporting natural gas from central Alberta to the US border.

1985

Interprovincial Pipe Line Inc. completes construction of its Norman Wells, NT to Zama, AB pipeline, which is the first buried pipeline through permafrost in Canada.

1993

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association is formed.

 

Dredging for gas pipeline, Bow River, Alberta. October 19, 1952

Dredging for gas pipeline, Bow River, Alberta. October 19, 1952

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