The Energy East Pipeline will transport a variety of crude types, including conventional crude oil, diluted bitumen and synthetic crude oil.
Multiple studies conducted by some of the world’s leading and most respected scientific research organizations have all concluded that diluted bitumen, or dilbit as it’s commonly referred to, behaves the same way as any other crude oil and does not pose any additional risk when transported through pipelines.
Studies performed by the National Academy of Sciences, Natural Resources Canada, Battelle Memorial, Penspen Institute, Alberta Innovates at the University of Calgary and the American Petroleum Institute all found:
- Diluted bitumen does not cause pipeline failure or ruptures
- The chemical and physical properties of diluted bitumen are similar to other types of crude oils
- There is no evidence that transporting diluted bitumen through pipelines is more likely to cause a release than other types of crude oils
- Diluted bitumen, which flows through a pipeline, has similar density and viscosity levels similar to other types of crude oils
- There is no evidence that transporting diluted bitumen causes internal corrosion or erosion to the interior walls of a pipeline
Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil across North America and TransCanada has an industry-leading safety record. From design and construction to operations and maintenance, safety is our top priority.
At TransCanada, our safety programs begin before construction, ensuring that only the highest-quality materials are selected for our pipelines.
In addition to selecting top-quality materials, there are two main ways we protect our pipelines. The first is by applying a protective coating to the pipe. This coating, often in the form of a fusion-bonded epoxy, seals the steel surface of the pipeline from moisture, preventing corrosion.
Another way we protect our pipelines is through the use of cathodic protection. This is a technique used to control corrosion in which another piece of metal is connected to the steel pipeline, and a carefully calibrated electrical current is applied to the pipe, drawing corrosion away from the pipe and onto the additional piece of metal.
This type of protection also protects things such as bridges, boats and cars from corrosion and rust. These additional safety features provide added protection directly to the pipeline to stop long-term wear on the system.
National Academy of Sciences: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines
Natural Resources Canada: Bitumen-Derived Crude and Corrosivity
Battelle Memorial Institute: Diluted Bitumen-Derived Crude Oil: Relative Pipeline Impacts (PDF, 330 KB)
Penspen Institute: Canadian Energy Pipelines Association State of the Art Report: Dilbit Corrosivity (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Alberta Innovates Energy and Environment Solutions: Comparison of the Corrosivity of Dilbit and Conventional Crude (PDF, 610 KB)
American Petroleum Institute: Diluted Bitumen (PDF, 306 KB)