What are pipeline companies doing about climate change?

Canada contributes less than two per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s transmission pipelines are responsible for just one per cent of the country’s total emissions, and CEPA members are working to reduce those emissions every day.

Climate change is an important international issue, requiring action across industries and around the globe. CEPA and its members are responding with proactive strategies and solutions to build a better energy future for Canada and the world.

Pipeline companies are finding efficiencies in their day-to-day practices, while investing in new technologies that are leading to meaningful change and a reduction of emissions.

Reducing industry emissions

Canada’s oil and gas industry, which includes pipelines, is making significant investments into new technologies to reduce, store and capture emissions. These advancements, along with strict maintenance practices, are improving the industry’s environmental performance and securing Canada’s spot as one of the most responsible energy producers in the world.

Pipeline emissions mainly come from natural gas pipelines through burning fossil fuels at compressor stations, and methane (the main component of natural gas) from small leaks or maintenance activities. Some of the ways pipeline companies are reducing these emissions include:

  • Using more efficient engines that burn natural gas to replace older engines at compressor stations.
  • Reducing methane emissions during maintenance by capturing and diverting natural gas in the affected section of the pipeline, rather than releasing the gas into the atmosphere.
  • Detecting leaks using advanced technologies including portable gas and ultrasonic detectors.
  • Conducting ongoing maintenance to regularly check equipment and make repairs to prevent any residual gas from escaping during operation.

Greenhouse gas emissions from liquid pipelines are limited, with storage tanks being the primary source of the emissions. They are being reduced in a number of ways, including:

  • The colour, roofs and seals of storage tanks are designed to minimize emissions
  • In specific locations, vapour control or recovery systems collect over 95 per cent of vapour emissions
  • Pipeline operators inspect their storage tanks regularly for leaks and external corrosion, and check vents, drains, valves and seals.

CEPA’s climate change policy position includes several examples of how members are reducing emissions through technology and innovation.

Reducing global emissions

As the world addresses climate change, Canada’s energy will be an important part of the solution. Increasing world population and the growing global economy mean energy demand is rising. While solar and wind energy production is increasing, forecasts indicate oil and natural gas will continue to provide most of the world’s energy in 2040.

Canada has a global opportunity to provide our responsibly developed products, including liquified natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen, to countries that are still reliant on less clean sources of energy.

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