Canadian Natural owns and operates one of the largest inventories of pipeline infrastructure within Canada. Our goal is to be proactive and prevent pipeline failures that lead to spills or leaks.
Our pipeline integrity initiatives include risk assessments, ongoing enhancement and implementation of corrosion mitigation and monitoring programs, and regulatory engagement. Our activities span from inspections and internal audits, to incident investigation and analysis, repairs and training.
Our focus on high consequence pipelines is driving our performance in the right direction. Canadian Natural continues to perform better than industry average for pipeline leaks/1,000 km in Alberta, while operating over twice as much pipeline length than our nearest peer. Canadian Natural’s highest risk pipelines (primarily located in British Columbia and Alberta) exhibited the lowest frequency of leaks/1,000 km.
Pipeline Risk Assessment
Our pipeline risk assessment program is a proactive initiative to ensure that our risks are understood and resources are focused where needed. This program assigns a risk value to each pipeline based on the likelihood of failure and the potential consequences of that failure. Evaluations are ongoing as existing asset conditions change and new assets are acquired.
We also conduct internal and external high-risk pipeline audits to ensure corrosion mitigation and monitoring strategies are in place.
Our above ground pipelines at Horizon (including hydro-transport, underflows, and tailings pipelines) go through ongoing inspections to monitor their condition. In 2014, we increased the use of automated ultrasonic real-time monitoring to reduce pipeline failures and optimize costs.
At our UK operations, we plan in-line pipeline inspections to identify opportunities to implement repairs before scheduled inspections. Ninian North Oil Export Pipeline and Espoir Gas Export Pipeline inspections confirmed no integrity issues.
Pipeline Water Crossing Managment
Canadian Natural’s pipeline network intersects a number of flowing water bodies. A detailed methodology for risk assessment and effective ongoing management of Canadian Natural’s pipeline water crossings is in place.
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. Ongoing engineering inspections were executed on high consequence water crossings during 2014 and no immediate threats to pipeline integrity were found.
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 2014 a total of 1,395
pipelines were either abandoned or discontinued in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan; 8 per cent more than 2013 (1,289 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.
To learn more about how industry, regulatory agencies and government, ensure Canada’s pipelines are operated safely, responsibly and in the public interest through regular inspections, audits and incident investigations, visit www.cepa.com.