Asset Integrity

We know that maintaining the integrity of our energy infrastructure – pipelines, storage tanks, gas processing plants, fractionators and associated facilities – is integral to the health and safety of the communities in which we operate. Not only does a strict focus on safe and reliable operations lessen the likelihood of incidents, it also reduces the cost of our operations over the long term and helps sustain our license to operate. That's why we've developed, and are continuously improving, our asset integrity management programs. Given the nature of our asset base, our integrity management programs are focused on two core areas: pipeline integrity and facility integrity.

Water crossing inspections – Pembina regularily inspects river banks for potential issues

Pipeline Integrity:
Full asset life-cycle program

Each year, we dedicate a significant portion of our operating budget to our comprehensive pipeline integrity management activities. Our integrity management program includes the systems, processes, analysis and documentation designed to ensure proactive and transparent management of our pipeline systems. It incorporates industry best practices and is designed to meet or exceed regulatory requirements with the goal of achieving enhanced safety, reliability and longevity through the entire pipeline lifecycle. 

One Call

Need more information? 

B.C. One Call at
1-800-474-6886

Alberta One Call at
1-800-242-3447

Information is also available at:
B.C. One Call
Alberta One Call

 

Integrity management begins at the engineering and design phase. At the early stages of building a new pipeline, we ensure that pipeline routes are chosen to avoid geologically unstable or high consequence areas and to minimize environmental impact. To further mitigate the risk and impact of an incident, we design our pipelines so that they can be safely shut down and that segments can be isolated by installing block valves at strategic intervals along the system. Where appropriate, we take extra safety precautions such as increasing pipe wall thickness or depth-of-cover to help mitigate risks. In addition, when it comes to choosing materials for new construction, Pembina only use steel pipe and other products that have been manufactured to meet the highest quality standards and specifications. 

Our highly qualified and experienced inspectors oversee all phases of construction. Each weld is assessed using appropriate technology to ensure that they are sound, and prior to installation, we coat the entire external surface of our pipelines with materials that are specially designed to safeguard against environmental damage and corrosion. In addition, as part of pipeline operations, a very low-voltage electrical current, called cathodic protection, is applied to the external surface of the pipeline which further protects the pipe from external corrosion. Once construction is complete, above-ground warning signs are erected to clearly mark pipeline rights-of-way so that the risk of third-party damage to the below-ground pipeline is minimized.

Our proactive integrity management activities extend into pipeline operations. At our control centre in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Pembina's operators monitor our pipeline flow and leak detection software 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Through our integrity management program, we use in-line inspection technologies such as magnetic flux leakage to detect corrosion and ultrasonic devices to detect cracks. Our extensive geotechnical database is designed to help minimize integrity hazards associated with ground movement and watercourse channelling. We protect our pipelines against possible damage by third-party excavators or construction activity by working with municipal planners, contractors and landowners along our pipeline routes. We also conduct routine right–of–way aerial patrols and are a long-standing member of the Alberta and British Columbia One Call systems. 

Abandonment is the final phase of a pipeline's lifecycle. Should Pembina decide that we would like to permanently cease operations on any of our pipeline systems, we are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and regulations to abandon our pipelines and other assets. Through the abandonment process, we would work with applicable regulatory bodies to ensure that we do what's best for the environment and the people living around the pipeline, which may be purged of all product, treated and left in the ground or removed from the ground entirely.

Integrity management

Integrity management includes a comprehensive evaluation of all threats:

We use a variety of processes and programs to monitor and protect our asset base

In-Line Inspection Program:

  • Detects metal loss, cracks or dents

Cathodic Protection:

  • Minimizes external (soil side) corrosion through low-voltage electric current

Geographic Information System:

  • Captures, stores, analyzes, manages and presents pipeline integrity data 

Internal Corrosion Program:

  • Monitors product quality at pipeline inlet
  • Uses specific chemicals to reduce the likelihood of internal corrosion from impurities and bacteria in the oil

Geotechnical Program:

  • Assesses water crossing depth-of-cover
  • Monitors slope stability

 

Spotlight on in-line inspection

Pembina has employed a rigorous and sophisticated in-line inspection program, using the latest technology, since the 1970s. We have over 450 pipeline segments that are suitable for in-line inspection and we complete an average of 50 to 60 inspections per year. Based on findings, in-line inspection typically results in 300 to 500 digs annually.

 

Pembina uses the following main in-line inspection tool technologies:

  • Magnetic flux leakage tool: Pembina uses a high-resolution magnetic flux leakage tool (also known as a "smart pig") to identify the location and severity of defects with potential to adversely affect pipeline "fitness-for-service." With this technology, magnets are used to temporarily magnetize the pipeline steel and changes in the magnetic field are recorded and analyzed. If there are no flaws in the wall of the pipe, the magnetic flux would be uniform. However, if internal or external flaws exist, such as corrosion, pitting or other damage, the magnetic flux would be distorted beyond the wall of the pipe. This distortion or ‘leakage’ is measured, assessed and then used to develop remedial action plans.
  • Geometry (deformations) tool: Pembina uses geometry tools to measure dents/deformations and internal pipeline diameter. This type of tool can help locate hidden third-party damage and can validate passage clearance for other inspection tools. In addition, it measures pipeline distance, girth welds and other associated hardware (such as valves).
  • Combo tools (magnetic flux leakage and geometry): These tools combine measurement systems based on different technologies within a single inspection tool. This allows Pembina to receive maximum data from a single in-line inspection run.
  • Ultrasonic crack detection: For those pipeline segments with higher susceptibility to crack features, Pembina also employs specialized ultrasonic in-line inspection crack detection technology. This technology is particularly useful in pinpointing stress corrosion cracking and seam weld defects. The tool emits ultrasound pulse waves which locate hard-to-find, crack-like defects in their earliest stage of development. 

300 - 500

digs are conducted on an annual basis to visually inspect pipelines and mitigate defects

400 

Based on risk-rankings, we conduct over 400 water crossing and slope inspections annually

Helicopter patrols – Pembina regularily conducts aerial inspections of its rights-of-ways and facilities. 

Facility integrity

  • We maintain an inventory of over 3,500 pressure equipment assets spanning gas and NGL processing facilities and pipeline associated facilities
  • Our facility integrity program ensures operational safety and regulatory compliance for all pressure equipment assets
  • We comply with design and operational pressure equipment and tank-specific industry codes and regulations such as Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Directive 055 – Petroleum Industry Storage Requirements and the Safety Codes Act and Regulations as well as applicable CSA Standards

We plan and execute scheduled plant turnarounds at our gas processing facilities and our fractionators with the goal of meeting or exceeding jurisdictional requirements for pressure equipment, tank and piping inspections. By using data collected through our facility integrity program, we are able to cost-effectively conduct plant turnarounds to ensure safe, reliable and continuous gas and NGL processing operations – to the benefit of our customers and shareholders.

We are able to cost-effectively conduct plant turnarounds to ensure safe, reliable and continuous gas and NGL processing operations

 
 

Spotlight on our proactive geohazard assessment program

The goal of Pembina's geotechnical program is to inspect, monitor and mitigate geohazards that could impact our operations and the safety of people and the environment. Under the program, all pipeline water crossings and slopes are fully inventoried, mapped, risk-ranked, and regularly inspected. We conduct depth-of-cover surveys to track pipe depth under water crossings and employ slope surveys and instrumentation to track movement of slopes. Our early Weather Warning System helps us track snowpack, rainfall amounts and river levels in advance so that we can be prepared for weather-related events and ensure the continued safe operation of our pipelines. 

Federally Regulated Canadian Pipeline Retirement

Information for Canadian Landowners
 
Pipelines are a safe and efficient means of transporting large quantities of crude oil and natural gas liquids over land. Canadians rely on natural gas and products made from crude oil to meet energy needs each and every day – to drive our cars, fly planes and to heat homes and businesses. In Canada, Pembina owns and operates pipelines efficiently and safely.
 
Beginning in 2008, the National Energy Board (“NEB”) initiated the Land Matters Consultation Initiative. Part of this initiative dealt with the financial issues relating to pipeline abandonment. An important area considered by the NEB was the optimal way to ensure funds are available when it’s time to retire a pipeline system. In response to this issue, the NEB has directed the companies it regulates to begin setting aside money starting in January 2015 that one day will be used to pay for the retirement of their NEB-regulated pipelines in Canada.
 
Further Information on the Land Matters Consultation Initiative is available to the public by visiting the NEB’s website at www.neb-one.gc.ca.
 
Setting Aside Money
 
Pembina has started the process of setting aside money (beginning in January 2015) to cover the costs of future pipeline abandonment for all of Pembina’s NEB-regulated assets.

Money will be placed into separate trusts (“Qualifying Environmental Trusts or QETs”) for the following Systems:
  1. Pouce Coupé Pipe Line Ltd.’s Northwest System;
  2. Pouce Coupé Pipe Line Ltd.’s Northern System; and
  3. Pouce Coupé Pipe Line Ltd.’s  Pouce Coupé System.
Separate letters of credit (“LOC”) have been created for the following systems:
  1. Pembina Prairie Facilities Ltd’s Vantage Pipeline System; and
  2. Pembina Energy Services Inc.’s Taylor to Boundary Lake System.
see NEBC and Vantage map link on right side of page

Pembina Resource Services GP Inc. has a 50 percent ownership in a pipeline lateral (Kerrobert Pipeline) which is operated by a joint venture partner. Pembina and the joint partner have begun the process of placing money aside into a separate trust but the joint venture partner is responsible for the submission of the NEB-compliance based filings for this asset. 

see Kerrobert map link on right side of page

Pembina filed Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (“SIPP”) applicable to its trusts with the NEB. The purpose of this SIPP is to outline investment guidelines, monitoring and reporting procedures in accordance with the objectives of the trust, the NEB MH-001-2013 Reasons for Decision and the provisions in the Income Tax Act which govern Qualified Environmental Trusts.

The goals of the QETs or LOCs are to ensure that Pembina has set aside funds to safely and effectively abandon our pipeline systems in the future and annually, Pembina files LOC and Trust Annual Reporting Forms with the NEB. Accordingly, see links to these Forms on the right side of the page. 


For more information about this initiative, please contact
Pembina Pipeline Corporation’s Regulatory Affairs Group
Email: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­regulatory@pembina.com