Fact: Pipelines are the safest method of transporting the volumes of natural gas that move throughout North America every day. In the 60 years TransCanada has operated pipelines, there have been no injuries to members of the public as a result of the operation of our assets. TransCanada has spent an average of $900 million per year over the last three years on pipeline integrity and preventative maintenance programs.
Our Gas Control Centres provide 24/7 monitoring of TransCanada’s pipeline systems. From these Centres we can remotely control facilities and gather real-time data such as system pressures, flows, alarms and temperatures. The system also provides information on abnormal operating conditions (valves out of position, system surge, etc.) In this way, we are able to ensure facilities are operating properly. If an incident were to occur, TransCanada can act quickly to isolate and remove the affected pipe from service.
We also inspect our pipeline routes from low-flying aircraft and ground patrols. We look for signs of gas leaks, unauthorized construction or other soil disturbances on the pipeline right-of-way that could indicate a potential problem. We use high-quality steel and best construction practices when building pipelines. All pipe is tested well above normal operating pressure before it is put into operation. Our pipelines are cathodically protected, which means a low-voltage electric current is induced in the vicinity of the pipeline to inhibit external corrosion.
Cleaning and inspection tools called “smart pigs” are used to gather data for the assessment of pipeline integrity. The information gathered helps shape our pipeline maintenance programs. If anomalies are detected, the pipeline segment in question is excavated and visually inspected. It is either repaired on the spot or replaced.