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  • Writer's pictureDavid Richardson

Facts Albertans Should know about our Oil and Gas Pipeline Networks

Updated: Feb 19, 2018

Pipeline Leaks (internal corrosion) are the number-one cause of pipeline failures for every year, for the past 35-years. These pipeline failures no longer need to occur Alberta.

Present business ideology emphasizes debt management and commodity price forecasts while seizing all opportunity to underscore "every dollar matters". The principal message encourages workers to place faith into collaborative relationships, and to embrace new ideas and technologies where meaningful.

All of a sudden the most progressive thinkers are more at ease and increasingly willing to advocate creative solutions for the most critical operating challenges; a prescribed pathway to improving performance and reducing cost.

“[The industry faces a death spiral if it does not figure-out ways to cut cost. We must give-up expecting answers to evolve from our old ways – learning to embrace revolutionary ideas is essential for survival]”

S. Laut – President, CNRL

Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce; February, 2015

The call to embrace innovation may be good news for the Alberta environment and the affected public; particularly if under-performance of the pipeline infrastructure comes into focus. Pipelines that gather and transport raw production fluids to more than 9,000 central treating facilities distributed throughout the province are branded by “a-leak-a-day” attributed to internal corrosion since 1990; over 8,500 leaks.

Pipeline Leaks (Internal Corrosion) are not “Under-Control”

Total pipeline inventory - Oil & Gas Gathering

  • 460,000 km cumulative length

    • 10-times circumference of earth

  • 15 % of Alberta total land directly impacted by pipeline rights-of-way

    • twice the size of PEI

Twenty-five-year Leak Count (1990 – 2015)

  • 16,000 leak events

    • spill size and cost of remediation are steadily increasing

Leak count attributed in internal corrosion (IC)

  • 8,500 IC leak events

  • 55 % of total leak events caused by IC

  • “one-IC pipeline leak every day” over 25-year period

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