Pipeline Integrity

Proactive Pipeline Assessment

Our approach to pipeline integrity management works to prevent pipeline failures by placing a strong focus on proactive management, from risk identification to mitigation. We assess each pipeline based on the likelihood of failure and the potential consequences of that failure. Evaluations and inspections are ongoing (including annual subsea pipeline inspections at our International operations as existing asset conditions change and new assets are acquired). Pipeline integrity management makes sure pipelines are designed, built and operated to be safe, reliable and sustainable. 

Our risk-based, comprehensive pipeline integrity management system includes the following: 

  • Proven assessment tools to effectively deploy resources and capital to areas of highest exposure to manage our pipeline inventory — including detailed evaluations of our pipeline inventory with a strong focus on high consequence pipelines, such as pipelines that cross water bodies. 
  • Effective and efficient execution of mitigation activities — including corrosion mitigation and monitoring programs, planned inspections and repairs, incident investigation, internal and external audits and regulatory engagement. 
  • Effective spill and emergency response — if a leak or spill occurs, the consequence is minimized through our Emergency Management and spill preparedness programs, which are subject to regular “tabletop” practice exercises.  
  • Focus on continuous improvement — program auditing and incident investigations allow us to implement lessons learned and ensure best practices are in place. 

Leak Detection Systems

Canadian Natural has a dedicated leak detection team focused on improving pipeline leak detection systems. Testing allows us to evaluate how systems respond in the event of an actual leak, and identify further leak detection system improvements, such as accuracy and detection capabilities. 

We leverage fiber optic technology to detect small leak rates in real time. The first system was implemented in an environmentally sensitive area in Swan Hills, Alberta. Fiber optic technology allows operations personnel to shut down pipeline activity before a failure occurs.