How long has the pipeline industry been around?

Pipelines have operated for a long time in Canada – since 1853 – to the point that we now have 119,000 kilometres of underground transmission pipeline.

The first Canadian transmission pipeline was built in 1853. 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.

Milestones in the Canadian transmission pipeline industry:

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

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.).

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 pipe line, South Side, Edmonton, Alberta. 1923

Natural Gas pipe line, South Side, Edmonton, Alberta. 1923

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

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 from South Portland, Maine, USA to Montreal, QC., 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.

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]

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

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

Construction of Interprovincial Pipe Line. 1950

Construction of Interprovincial Pipe Line. 1950

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

View of rugged terrain over which the Trans Mountain Oil Pipe Line 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 Trans Mountain Oil Pipe Line as it goes 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 (now Kinder Morgan Canada) 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

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 Spectra Energy Inc.) begins construction on a 24-inch pipeline from Taylor, BC to the USA.

1957

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. 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.

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.

1997

EnCana begins operation of its Express Pipeline, which transports crude oil from Hardisty, AB to markets in Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, USA.

2000

Alliance Pipeline starts transporting natural gas from northeastern British Columbia and northeastern Alberta to Illinois, USA.

2011

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. begins transporting crude oil on its Keystone pipeline from Hardisty, AB to Cushing, Oklahoma, USA.

The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Project, owned by a consortium, receives federal Cabinet approval to construct a 1,200 kilometre natural gas pipeline from the Mackenzie Delta, NT and on to existing pipeline infrastructure in Alberta.

2012

CEPA and its members formally launch CEPA Integrity First, an industry-led program designed to demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement in the areas of safety, environment and socio-economics.

2014

CEPA members formalize an existing agreement to abide by the Mutual Emergency Assistance Agreement to enhance their emergency response effectiveness by assisting each other in the event of an emergency within the member companies.

The Government of Canada approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, subject to 209 conditions recommended by the National Energy Board and further talks with aboriginal communities.

2015

CEPA releases the industry’s inaugural performance report to share the recent performance of the transmission pipeline industry and the actions CEPA’s member companies are taking to improve safety, lessen environmental impacts and achieve operational excellence.

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