We aim for our pipelines and facilities to operate incident-free and to ensure our assets serve our people and communities across the continent for years to come.
Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly way to transport natural gas and petroleum – period. Our pipeline safety programs are among the most robust in the industry and the most important part of our business. From pipeline integrity innovations to investing in leak detection technology and public awareness programs, safety is the common link behind everything we do.
One of the best demonstrations of our commitment to safety is our long-standing and ongoing Pipeline Integrity Program. This annual process maintains the integrity, safety and reliable operations of our pipeline systems. Our process includes:
On top of this program, every kilometre/mile of pipeline, pump, compressor facility or generating station is made using proven technology and integrated, industry-leading safety systems. Once constructed, all pipelines and facilities are monitored constantly, whether that’s from inside the pipe, on the ground or from the air.
Every year, we spend hundreds of millions on integrity and preventative maintenance programs to ensure the safe, reliable operations of our systems.
Leak prevention is a top priority. That’s why we take significant steps to prevent the chances of leaks before, during and after our pipelines and facilities are in use.
It begins during construction, with each joint of pipe being factory coated with high performance coatings and carefully transported to the project location. Each individual weld is inspected using radiographic or ultrasonic techniques to ensure the highest quality welding. Qualified onsite inspectors visually inspect every phase of the installation process including lowering the pipe into the ditch, and then backfilling.
Once installed, a low voltage electrical current is applied to the pipeline to prevent corrosion and the pipe is tested with water (hydrostatic testing), pressurized to a higher level than would be experienced during operation. In the unlikely event of an incident, TransCanada takes full responsibility for emergency response, clean-up and costs.
Read more about our emergency planning.
24 hours per day, 365 days a year, our Operations Control Centres (OCCs) manage some of the world’s most sophisticated pipeline monitoring technology.
At sites throughout North America, we conduct everything from aerial patrols (using low-flying aircraft and sensitive detection equipment), to geotechnical monitoring and searches for areas where erosion may have washed away the soil covering a pipeline.
In-line inspections are also part of our regular routine. Also known as “pigging,” (Pipeline Inspection Gauge) these inspections use an internal inspection device called a “smart-pig” to travel the length of a pipeline to collect data to monitor the condition of the pipeline. When an in-line inspection identifies a potential anomaly, investigative digs may also be conducted to expose the anomaly for further inspection and potential repair.
Whether the line carries natural gas or oil and liquids, at the first sign of a potential issue or irregularity, OCC operators stop pipeline flow within minutes, isolating the issue and helping protect the natural environment.
Continually improving the integrity and reliability of our pipelines and facilities is, and always has been, one of our highest priorities. Here are some of the ways we’re doing it.
By partnering with industry peers, universities, colleges and governments, we’re part of one of the industry’s largest research and development programs. In fact, in 2015 we invested more than $45 million in R&D alone, placing TransCanada in Research Infosource’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders List.
As part of our commitment to environmental stewardship, we work to minimize our environmental footprint as we strive to meet the energy needs of North Americans. We invest heavily in understanding the impacts our pipelines and facilities have on sensitive wildlife species and work to preserve and protect ecosystems throughout North America.