FAQ

*Reference: CEPA

What role do pipelines play in our lives?

Canadians use oil and gas products every day and pipelines are the safest way to deliver those products.

Why are new pipeline projects being proposed?

Canadian oil and natural gas is in demand, both around the world and here in Canada. Expanding our pipeline network will allow us to increase the economic benefits – employment, taxes, investment – that come from responsibly developing the third-largest energy reserves in the world. As an example, if the two proposed projects (Energy East and Trans Mountain Expansion) were operational, there would be an annual boost to GDP of $3.2 billion.

What are pipeline companies doing about climate change?

Canada contributes less than two percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and Canada’s transmission pipelines are responsible for just one percent of Canada’s total emissions. Despite those numbers being small, work is still being done to reduce emissions every day.

What is the source of greenhouse gas emissions from pipelines?

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.

How are pipeline companies reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

Both innovative technology and strict maintenance practices are used to mitigate emissions. This includes replacing old equipment with new, more energy-efficient units and using new technology to find and repair small pipeline leaks, such as portable gas detectors and ultrasonic detectors.

How can operators monitor thousands of km of pipelines?

Pipeline companies use a wide variety of methods to monitor pipelines – from highly advanced technology to patrolling the pipeline right-of-way. Visual inspections are done regularly – either by walking, flying or using drones – and the industry also uses electronic monitoring from high-tech control rooms and patrols inside the pipeline. For instance in 2015, CEPA members invested $1.3 billion in maintaining and monitoring their Canadian pipeline systems.

How do pipeline companies minimize their impact on vegetation?

Operators want to have as little impact as possible, so that once a pipeline is in place, there is little evidence it is there. Pipeline operators try to use techniques that will have minimal disturbance on the land, such as plowing. During the construction phase of a pipeline, plant life will be temporarily disturbed, but operators work hard to limit any disturbance – generally the area is fully recovered within five years.

What happens to the environment when a spill occurs?

No spill is acceptable. That’s why if a leak is detected, pipeline companies are prepared to respond immediately. Every operator has a comprehensive and precise strategy for managing any type of pipeline emergency to limit the impact to the environment. If a spill were to occur, among the many established procedures for handling such a situation, specially trained crews and emergency equipment would be deployed immediately to clean up the spill and begin returning the area to its previous state. These clean-up specialists, biologists and environmental experts work as long as it takes to clean up the area.

Do pipeline companies value Aboriginal knowledge?

The industry knows that building strong relationships with Aboriginal communities can help minimize the environmental impact of their projects by learning traditional knowledge about local land, forests, water and wildlife.

How do pipelines work?

1. Product is gathered from wells in the ground and sent through gathering pipelines to a facility where it’s processed or refined. Pumps or compressors move it through the system at a safe pace.
2. Once the oil is refined or the gas is processed, it’s moved through feeder pipelines to be distributed to large transmission pipelines.
3. CEPA members operate these transmission pipelines to deliver these products across the country to where people need it. It takes about a month to deliver oil and gas products from Alberta to Ontario