How your pipelines performed in 2019.

How CEPA members continuously improve performance

CEPA Integrity First® is a prime example of how Canada leads the world when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.

Canadians can be proud that the transmission pipelines they count on follow the highest ESG practices thanks to programs like CEPA Integrity First. It was created by CEPA members with the purpose of continuously improving the performance of Canada’s energy pipeline industry to protect the environment and ensure the safety of those who live and work around pipelines.

Through Integrity First, CEPA members work collaboratively to share their knowledge and innovations to drive industry-wide performance improvements in pipeline safety and environmental protection. Integrity First enables pipeline companies to work together to make our industry better – focusing on safety, transparency and responsible operations – striving toward our goal of zero incidents.

7 key priorities:

Integrity First cycle
Integrity First ensures that each priority is put through a six-stage process that is built on a solid foundation of strategic communications and change management to drive continuous improvement.

In 2019, CEPA members safely transported the natural gas and oil that you, Canada and the world count on.
Natural Gas
What is one cubic foot of natural gas equivalent to?
Crude Oil
What is one barrel of crude oil equivalent to?
Significant incidents

There was one significant incident – a natural gas leak of 12.7 million cubic feet – and zero significant liquids incidents in 2019. While significant incidents decreased from six in 2018, no incident is acceptable as CEPA members are committed to a goal of zero incidents.

What is a significant incident?
Total rights-of-way incidents

There were nine total incidents in 2019 of which only one was significant. While CEPA members are prepared for any incident, no incident is acceptable. All CEPA members are committed to achieving zero incidents.

Does this report include all pipeline incidents?
Natural Gas Incidents
Rights-of-way Incidents

In 2019, there were eight unplanned natural gas releases, of which one was significant. The incident was classified as significant because it was caused by a rupture (a fissure in the pipeline).

Liquids Incidents
Rights-of-way Incidents

In 2019 there was one liquids incident, which was not significant. All 9.4 barrels spilled in the incident were fully recovered.


In 2019, total unplanned product released from CEPA members’ natural gas pipelines was approximately 22.4 million cubic feet.

What happens to the natural gas in an incident?

In 2019 there was one liquids incident, which was not significant. All 9.4 barrels spilled in the incident were fully recovered.

What are recovered barrels of oil?

Causes of pipeline incidents

  • Third-party line strikes occur when unauthorized digging takes place near pipelines and can cause damage, including digging in your own backyard.
  • Reduction in the thickness of a pipe due to corrosion, erosion or other causes (metal loss).
  • Cracking.
  • Materials, manufacturing or construction defects.

Metal loss, cracking, and materials, manufacturing and construction defects remain the leading causes of pipeline incidents*. Collectively, these accounted for 75 per cent of the total incidents over the period from 2015 to 2019.

“Geotechnical” refers to damage by floods or landslides. “External interference” refers to damage by third parties. “Other” refers to control system malfunction, improper operation, lightning, fire and unknown. “Metal loss” is primarily caused by corrosion.

No amount spilled is acceptable, which is why CEPA members work to improve pipeline safety and performance, continuing to drive the decline in incidents.

*To differentiate higher-risk incidents, CEPA has adopted a set of criteria that defines “significant incident.” A significant incident includes one or more of the following: serious injury or fatality, liquid release of greater than 8 cubic metres (50 barrels), unintentional ignition or fire, or rupture or break of a pipeline.


Prevention Performance

Thousands of professionals — including engineers, scientists and environmental experts such as biologists, agrologists and hydrologists — monitor pipelines to protect the environment. From control rooms and satellites that can monitor every metre of the pipe to in-line inspection tools that patrol the inside of the pipeline, experts are always watching. Below is a report on the year’s prevention performance and ongoing CEPA initiatives in the area of environmental protection.

Integrity Digs

In 2019, CEPA member companies conducted 2,020 integrity digs to examine pipelines for defects and make repairs – that’s a total of 31,445 integrity digs since 2008. The number of integrity digs in any given year is not a set number. Each company decides when and where to perform an integrity dig, based on the results of in-line inspections and according to members’ operations and management programs.

What is an integrity dig?
Member Story

A robust program of integrity digs is one of the many reasons that the Canadian energy transmission pipeline industry is a standout among its global peers.

Read more


In 2019, CEPA members invested $1.5 billion in maintenance and monitoring of their Canadian pipeline systems.

Member Story

Discover how CEPA members keep pipelines safe by using satellites to track geohazards.

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In-line Inspections

In 2019, CEPA members conducted in-line inspection runs on 38,937 kilometres of pipelines in Canada using highly sophisticated tools like smart pigs that examine pipelines from the inside to identify issues such as metal loss, dents and cracks that may require further investigation.

What is an in-line inspection?
What is a smart pig?
Member Story

Discover more about in-line inspections, one of the most effective ways CEPA members monitor pipelines.

Read more


In 2019, CEPA members invested $10.6 million in innovative technology focused on reducing pipeline corrosion and improving pipeline inspection, leak detection and damage prevention. From 2015 to 2019, CEPA members’ investment in these kinds of technologies totalled more than $94.9 million.

This number does not include indirect expenditures on innovative technologies through member company operational budgets.

Member Story

Explore innovative new high-fidelity dynamic sensing (HDS) pipeline monitoring technology that was invented right here in Canada.

Read more

Why responsible pipelines are important

Because delivering the natural gas and oil you need should be done in the safest, most responsible way.

Canada and the world need natural gas and oil and will long into the future. So it makes sense that the natural gas and oil we count on are produced and transported using the highest safety and ESG standards, like the practices that Canadian transmission pipelines follow right now, and continuously improve upon.

Pipelines matter for Canada

About 71 per cent1 of fuel needs in Canada today are met by natural gas and oil. And 92 per cent of Canada’s oil and 100 per cent of its natural gas are shipped by pipeline. While the proportion of energy production from alternative sources like solar and wind is rising, forecasts indicate natural gas and oil could still provide over 50 per cent of the world’s energy in 2040.2

Pipelines matter for the world

As the world addresses climate change, Canada’s responsible natural gas and oil transported by pipelines will be an important part of the solution. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Canada can help lower global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when it’s used to displace higher-emitting fuels for power generation. Canada’s abundant supply of natural gas (1,220 trillion cubic feet, enough to meet Canada’s needs for 300 years at current production levels) is transported to LNG terminals by pipeline.

Pipelines matter for your prosperity

Pipelines directly provide thousands of jobs in communities across Canada, as well as support hundreds of thousands of jobs in the energy industry. Plus, natural gas and oil power millions of jobs in industries that can’t exist without them, including fishing, farming, mining, aviation, forestry and transportation.3 Since 2005, natural gas and oil have contributed close to $1 trillion to Canada’s GDP,4 and over 90 per cent of that energy is transported in pipelines.

Pipelines matter for our society

Pipelines generate billions of dollars for vital government programs like health care and education – over $200 billion since 2008.5

Pipelines matter to you

Pipelines safely transport the natural gas and oil you count on for travelling, heating your home, cooking, transporting goods, growing food and so much more. Natural gas and oil are also transformed into thousands of things you count on every day, from your toothbrush and smartphone to the roads you drive on and the roof over your head.

1. Natural Resources Canada, Energy Factbook 2018-2019
2. International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2019
3. Statistics Canada, Labour Force Characteristics by Industry
4. Statistics Canada Natural Resources Satellite Account (NRSA)
5. RBC Economics, Energy Matters


Safety Performance

CEPA members deliver the natural gas and oil Canada and the world need in the safest, most responsible way. They do this by making safety the highest priority through an ingrained safety culture and exhaustive emergency planning. Below is a report on the year’s performance and ongoing CEPA initiatives in the area of emergency, health and safety.

Emergency response exercises

In 2019, CEPA members held 393 emergency response exercises, ranging in complexity from emergency drills to full-scale exercises with participation from multiple agencies and jurisdictions, and mobilization of personnel and equipment as if a real emergency had occurred.

Member Story

Explore Trans-Northern’s emergency response procedures to see how all CEPA members keep incident response capabilities sharp.

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In 2019, CEPA members reported 21 incidents within facilities. Incidents that occur within a pipeline facility pose less potential threat to the public or environment because of their size and the fact that facilities have both restricted public access and leak containment systems to keep the releases within the facility.

Member Story

All CEPA members work diligently to prevent any kind of incident throughout the pipeline network.

Read more

Injury and motor vehicle incidents

Rate of injury increased from 0.49 per 100 full-time employees in 2018 to 0.88 in 2019. This reflects 16 additional injuries in 2019. CEPA members are committed to zero incidents, including health and safety. Every incident is thoroughly investigated and continuous improvements are made to prevent further incidents.

The number of driving incidents per million kilometres driven fell from 1.62 in 2015 to 0.71 in 2019. Incidents decreased from 1.07 in 2018 to 0.71 in 2019, which represents a 33 per cent decrease from 2018. CEPA members continue to strengthen efforts in areas such as regular driver training and work planning that help ensure workers are not fatigued and have sufficient time to travel the required distances.

What do the injury rate and incident rate refer to?


CEPA members are focused on ensuring the people directly employed by our industry and the many thousands of contractors who work on their behalf return home safely at the end of each day. Just as CEPA members have committed to a goal of zero pipeline incidents, they also have a goal of zero incidents affecting the health and safety of their employees.

Member Story

All CEPA members place safety as a top priority, as exemplified by the practices Plains Midstream follows to keep people safe.

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Safety is our top priority

Pipelines are the safest way to transport the energy Canada and the world need. In fact, Canadian transmission pipelines are among the safest in the world.

In 2019, Canada’s 118,500-kilometre network of transmission pipelines moved 100 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and 92 per cent of Canada’s onshore crude oil production to the people who need it.

Out of 1.7 billion barrels of oil transported by CEPA members, a total of 9.4 barrels were spilled and all were recovered. While this is only a tiny percentage of oil transported, no amount spilled is acceptable to CEPA members, who work toward a common goal of zero incidents.

CEPA members work together to continuously improve what are already among the highest safety standards, and best safety records, in the world. Over 38,000 kilometres of transmission pipelines were inspected from the inside in 2019, and over 2,000 integrity digs were performed to check any anomalies identified. Hundreds of exercises were performed to ensure CEPA member companies’ emergency response teams are prepared. Over $1.5 billion was spent on monitoring to ensure that your energy was delivered safely.

Canada and the world will need natural gas and oil long into the future, and CEPA members transport these resources in the safest, most responsible way.