As of May 2014, Canadian Natural owns and operates 66,000km in pipeline infrastructure. Our goal is to be proactive and prevent pipeline failures that lead to spills or leaks. To achieve this, Canadian Natural continues our focus on programs to improve pipeline integrity.
Preventive and proactive work is key in maintaining a reliable pipeline infrastructure for our operations. Our Asset Integrity team maintains proactive pipeline integrity initiatives, including audits, inspections and risk-based mitigation and monitoring programs. Proactive evaluations are ongoing as existing asset conditions change and new assets are acquired.
Our pipeline integrity management programs are focused on preventing failures, specifically on high consequence pipelines. This continued focus is driving our performance the right direction. Company-wide we saw improvements in 2013; we had a decrease in the number and volume of leaks. Canadian Natural experienced 1.42 leaks/1,000 km; a 29 per cent reduction compared to our 2012 frequency of 2.0 leaks/1,000 km, and a 59 per cent reduction in average leak volume per m3. Canadian Natural continues to perform better than industry average for pipeline leaks/1,000 km.
Pipeline Risk Assessment
Our pipeline risk assessment program focuses our efforts on critical pipelines to safely maintain one of the largest inventories of upstream process equipment within Canada. This program assigns a risk value to each pipeline based on the likelihood of failure and identifies the potential consequences of that failure. This is a proactive initiative to ensure that our risks are understood and resources are focused where needed.
We also conduct internal and external high-risk pipeline audits to ensure corrosion mitigation and monitoring strategies are in place.
Pipeline Water Crossing Managment
Canadian Natural’s pipeline network intersects a number of flowing water bodies. A detailed methodology for risk assessment and effective management of Canadian Natural’s pipeline water crossings is in place. Proactive engineering inspections were executed in 2013 as planned on all of Canadian Natural’s high consequence water crossings; no immediate threats to pipeline integrity were found. Continued proactive inspections are planned for 2014 including a review of newly acquired assets. The Pipeline Water Crossing Management and related pipeline integrity initiatives are an important part of our Pipeline Integrity Program. The Asset Integrity and Environment groups are continually reviewing existing operational contingency plans and inspection histories throughout the year.
The pipeline Abandonment and Discontinuation Program in our North America Exploration and Production operations is aimed at reducing liabilities and meeting regulatory requirements associated with inactive pipelines. This program ensures pipelines are left in a safe and environmentally sound manner. In 2013 a total of 1,289 pipelines were either abandoned or discontinued in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan; 43 per cent more than 2012 (899 pipelines).
Transporting Canada's Energy Safely
Pipelines are a safe and efficient means of transporting large quantities of crude oil and natural gas over land. In addition to focusing on our own pipeline safety and integrity, we support the oil and natural gas industry’s efforts to raise awareness about transmission pipeline safety.
Canadian Natural supports efforts by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) who represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies. CEPA members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil production from producing regions to markets throughout Canada and the United States.
CEPA recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness and explain Canada’s regulatory requirements related to pipelines. The new campaign includes a website that provides information on how industry, as well as a number of regulatory agencies and government, ensure Canada’s pipelines are operated safely, responsibly and in the public interest through regular inspections, audits and incident investigations. For more information visit www.aboutpipelines.com