Media Statements and Releases

Media Report on Pipeline Incidents Misleading
October 30, 2013 | News Releases

Calgary, October 30, 2013 – An online report, created by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and using data obtained from the National Energy Board (NEB), is misleading to the public.

“The information contained in the CBC report is not an accurate representation of what’s happening within our industry,” said Brenda Kenny, president and chief executive officer, at the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA). “The number of incidents reported includes everything and anything – not just pipeline incidents.”

The report, in the form of an infographic, shows all incidents on federally regulated pipelines that have taken place over the past twelve years. This could include a worker slipping and falling or a tree dropping on a power line next to a meter station. Neither of these incidents involve pipelines or the product they carry.

In addition, the CBC stated in its methodology that information was missing in the NEB’s database. And, in an “effort to give Canadians the clearest possible picture of safety-related issues on pipelines,” the CBC admitted to filling in the blanks, in some cases.

“We can only stand by our numbers,” Kenny said. “We annually collect information from our members and aggregate those numbers to provide a clear picture.”

Over an eleven year period, CEPA’s member companies have had on average 3.6 significant pipeline incidents per year which, is considered to be best in-class performance worldwide.  CEPA, similar to other major national jurisdictions, defines a significant incident as a pipeline failure either causing a serious injury or fatality; a liquid release of greater than 50 barrels of liquid; an unintentional ignition or fire; or a rupture of the pipeline.

In addition, over the past twelve years, there has been a major increase in the reporting of all incidents. This is not indicative of declining performance, but rather an increase in the industry’s ability to learn and maintain its focus on increased transparency and a commitment to continuously improving. In doing so, CEPA member companies will continue to strive to reach their target of zero incidents, while focusing on significant incidents.

The online report also asks Canadians to provide personal recollections of pipeline incidents, which in CEPA’s view, may cause confusion between the role of the public and the role of the regulator.

“CEPA welcomes factual stories and experiences from the public. Our members routinely meet with landowners to ensure they remain responsive to their needs,” Kenny stated. “However, the role of the regulator, as an unbiased, neutral party, is to collect information regarding pipeline incidents. The regulator will use the information it collects to make decisions that are in the best interest of all Canadians.”

CEPA members are committed to advancing a safety culture, throughout the industry, based on a strong foundation of leadership and continual improvement leading to zero incidents. CEPA represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate 115,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada and the United States. In 2012, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.


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