Keeping pipelines running until retirement

From the first day the product starts to flow, a new pipeline becomes a vital artery for Canada’s energy needs. Thousands of experts ensure the product keeps flowing safely and securely through the line.

Operations and maintenance

Oil and gas are transported by gathering pipelines to terminals and processing facilities. From there, the products begin a safe, carefully monitored journey through transmission pipelines to markets in Canada, the United States and for export around the world.

Just like NASA has mission control in Houston, every transmission pipeline company – whether they operate liquids or natural gas pipelines – has a master control room where all their pipeline operations are monitored 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. World-leading technologies including video surveillance, temperature sensors and in-line inspection tools are used to continuously monitor, inspect and maintain pipelines to proactively prevent incidents.

Pipeline retirement

Operators are never really done with a pipeline. It may be deactivated temporarily, decommissioned or retired, but it always remains the responsibility of the pipeline operator. Pipeline companies have a lifetime commitment to ensure their operations remain safe for the public and the environment, even if a pipeline isn’t being used.

If a pipeline is removed from service, the operator follows procedures from the applicable regulator. These regulations ensure the pipeline retirement plan is focused on the environment, safety and what’s best for the public and landowners.

If a pipeline is decommissioned, it will be cleaned, capped and maintained. If a pipeline is permanently retired, the regulator will assess whether it is best to leave the line in place or remove the pipeline from the ground. This decision is made based on factors such as current and future land use, landowner agreements, and the environmental impacts of each option. In most cases it is less disruptive to the environment to leave a pipeline in place.

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