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The Truth About Pipelines

MYTH FACT
Pipelines are unsafe. Pipelines are the safest way of transporting large quantities of crude oil over land. During the period between 2002 and 2011, oil pipelines in Canada operated with a 99.9994 per cent safety record.
( Source: Canadian Energy Pipeline Association)
Oil sands crude is more corrosive than other crude oils. There’s virtually no difference between the corrosive properties of oil sands crude and conventional crude. Pipelines from Western Canada have been safely transporting oil sands crude for more than 30 years and conventional crude for more than 60 years.
Learn more at TransCanada Blog: Addressing the corrosion myth.
Oil sands crude is harder to clean up after a spill. Cleaning up oil sands crude poses the same challenges as cleaning up conventional crude. In both cases, environmental and site conditions determine the best procedures and equipment to use.
Pipeline companies do not accept responsibility for spills. Pipeline companies accept 100 per cent responsibility for spills and as much as possible, strive to return any impacted land to the condition it was in before the spill.
Pipeline companies operate pipelines at dangerously high pressure to cut costs. All pipelines have a maximum allowable operating pressure; exceeding that maximum is prohibited by law. In fact, pipeline companies typically operate pipelines at a level below maximum-allowable operating pressure.
When pipelines are taken out of service, the associated costs and risks are the landowners National Energy Board regulation law stipulates that pipeline companies, not landowners, are responsible for abandoned pipelines and are ultimately responsible for the full costs associated with both operating and abandoning their pipelines.
Pipeline companies cut corners in areas such as safety to make more money. Pipeline companies operate under financial regulation. Investments in pipeline safety and integrity are adequately covered by the tolls their customers (oil and gas producers) pay them to transport their product. There is no financial incentive for pipeline companies to cut safety expenses. In fact there is a strong financial incentive to invest in pipeline safety so that their pipelines can continue to operate in a reliable manner.
Canada’s pipelines are old and deteriorating, increasing the risk of spills. With proper maintenance and monitoring a pipeline can be safely operated indefinitely. Pipelines are subject to regular testing and assessment to ensure continued safe operations. The age of a pipeline is not in itself a reason for concern.
Canada’s pipeline regulations are not strong enough. The regulatory process to approve and maintain pipelines is rigorous and transparent to protect the public interest. Pipeline companies must also meet numerous standards prescribed by the Canadian Standards Association related to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of oil and gas pipeline systems.