When it Comes to Pipeline Safety, Collaboration Matters
When it comes to protecting the environment, people and communities, pipeline companies are choosing to work together.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) established the Integrity First® program. Members actively work together to not only define and implement best practices, but to also challenge each other to improve overall operations.
CEPA is the industry association for the transmission pipeline industry, representing companies operating 115,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada. One of the association’s key area of focus is to guide companies’ participation in Integrity First, developing guidelines and ensuring they meet program standards.
“The pipeline industry is highly regulated, but this program isn’t the result of regulation. It goes above and beyond and is the outcome of an industry that is truly committed to working together to be safe, responsible and transparent,” says Coral Lukaniuk, director of Integrity First.
The program formally started in 2012. When members agree to the principles of Integrity First, they commit to enhancing emergency procedures, improving employee safety, managing impacts to land, developing landowner relationships, providing economic benefits to communities and more.
“As an industry, we must do everything we can to be as safe as possible, limit our impact on the environment and build strong relationships with local communities,” Lukaniuk says.
Safety is the number one goal of Integrity First. Pipeline incidents are rare. In fact, 99.9995 per cent of liquid product transported by CEPA’s members was moved safely between 2002 and 2013. However, if a spill does happen, the results are serious.
“The overall goal of the industry is zero incidents. Absolutely none,” says Lukaniuk.
There are many aspects to pipeline safety, according to Lukaniuk, including prioritizing safety within organizations and communities, preventing damage on pipelines and to responding effectively and efficiently to emergencies.
Members of Integrity First discuss safety requirements and technology options, analyze company and industry practices and report on safety measures and operations in an effort to define and implement the best practices for the industry.
“This year, our members worked together to develop and finalize guidance documents. Now companies are assessing themselves against these documents,” Lukaniuk says. “Our intent is to share the results of the assessments with the public. We want the public to understand our practices, so we can have meaningful conversations with them about being safe, environmentally-friendly and transparent.”
Sharing the results publically for the first time is the next major milestone for CEPA Integrity First, explains Lukaniuk. It is a step towards creating more credibility between the industry and Canadians.
It is critical that Canadians’ interests are represented in the program, which is why an external advisory panel consisting of people from various stakeholder groups, including Aboriginal peoples, academia, media and landowners, are involved in Integrity First. They give their perspective on the program’s priorities.
“At the end of the day, we must improve Canadians’ trust and confidence in the pipeline industry,” says Lukaniuk. “Being safe and responsible and building strong relationships with local communities is non-negotiable. Integrity First is our way of demonstrating this.”