Statistical Summary – Pipeline Occurrences 2016
This document is a summary of selected 2016 pipeline safety data. It covers federally regulated pipelines only. Non-federally regulated data reported to the TSB are not included in this report.
The TSB gathers and uses this data during the course of its investigations to analyse safety deficiencies and identify risks in the Canadian transportation system.
The 2016 data were collected according to the reporting requirements described in the TSB Regulations in force during that calendar year.
The statistics presented here reflect the TSB database at 30 March 2017. Since the occurrence data are constantly being updated in the live database, the statistics may change slightly over time.
Also, as many occurrences are not formally investigated, information recorded on some occurrences may not have been verified.
A series of data tables associated with this annual summary is also available.
In 2016, in the federally-regulated pipeline system, 42 companies, including 8 that transport both oil and gas, transported 196 million cubic metres (m3) of oil (1.2 billion barrels) along approximately 18 503 kilometres of oil pipelines. Seventy companies, including the 8 that transport both oil and gas, transported 183 billion cubic metres of natural gas (6.5 trillion cubic feet) along approximately 53 356 kilometres of natural gas pipelines.Footnote 1
Overview of accidents
No pipeline accidents (Table 1) were reported to the TSB in 2016Footnote 2, the same as in 2015 but down from the annual average of 6 in the previous 5–year period (2011–2015) and 8 in the previous 10–year period (2006–2015)
Pipeline activity increased 3% from 2015Footnote 3. A general indicator of pipeline transportation safety in Canada is the pipeline accident rate. The 2016 rate (Table 2) was 0 pipeline accidents per exajouleFootnote 4, unchanged from 2015, and down from the annual average of 0.4 in 2011–2015 (Figure 1) and 0.6 in 2006–2015.
Figure 1 data table
Location of accidents: Over the past 10 years (2007–2016), 42% of pipeline accidents (Table 4) occurred at compressor stations and gas processing plants, and 28% occurred on transmission lines (Figure 2). The remaining pipeline accidents (30%) occurred at pump stations, terminals, meter stations, and on gathering lines.
Figure 2 data table
|Gas processing plant||7||10.4|
There have been no fatal accidents on a federally regulated pipeline system directly resulting from the operation of a pipeline since the inception of the TSB.
Release of product
Although there were no accidents reported in 2016, over the past 10 years (2007–2016), 39 of the 67 occurrences identified as accidentsFootnote 7 (Table 5 & Table 6) resulted in a release of product. Natural gas was released in 19 accidents, with 6 releases of less than 1 cubic metre, 2 releases between 1 and 25 cubic metres, 1 releases between 26 and 1 000 cubic metres, and 10 releases over 1 000 cubic metres. Crude oil was released in 12 accidents, with 8 releases of less than 1 cubic metre (6.29 barrels (bbl)), and 4 releases between 26 and 1 000 cubic metres (between 157 and 6 290 bbl).
Overview of incidents
In 2016, 101 pipeline incidentsFootnote 9 (Table 1, Figure 3) were reported to the TSB, comparable to the 100 reported in 2015 but down from the annual average of 138 in the previous 5 years (2011–2015) and 116 in the previous 10 years (2006-2015). With the new TSB Regulations in effect starting 01 July 2014, there was a decrease in the number of reported incidents involving releases of low vapour pressure hydrocarbons from that date to the end of 2016.
Figure 3 data table
Location of incidents
In 2016, 48% of pipeline incidents (Table 4) occurred on transmission lines, followed by 18% at meter stations, 12% at compressor stations, 8% at pump stations, 5% at terminals, and 3% at gathering lines. The remaining incidents occurred at gas processing plants, or at other facilities (Figure 4).
Figure 4 data table
Release of product
In 2016, 57 incidents involved no release of product and 6 incidents involved a release of less than 1 cubic metre of natural gas (Table 1 and Table 6). Nineteen incidents involved a release of 1 to 25 cubic metres of natural gas, 7 incidents involved a release of 26 to 1 000 cubic metres of natural gas, and 4 incidents involved the release of over 1 000 cubic meters of natural gas. Two incidents involved a release of 1 to 25 cubic metres of sour gas, and 1 involved a release of 26 to 1 000 cubic metres of sulphur dioxide. One incident involved a release of 1 to 25 cubic metres of petroleum crude oil (Figure 5).
Figure 5 data table
|< 1 m3||10||22.7|
|1 à 25 m3||22||50|
|26 à 1000 m3||8||18.2|
|> 1000 m3||4||9.1|
For reportable incidents, natural gas releases of less than 1 cubic metre decreased to 6 in 2016 from 11 in 2015. However, natural gas releases of 1 to 25 cubic metres increased to 19 in 2016 from 13 in 2015.
Crude oil releases of 1.5 cubic metres or more (9.44 barrels or more) decreased to 1 in 2016 from 3 in 2015.
Pipeline accidents and incidents prior to 01 July 2014
Prior to July 2014 (previous TSB Regulations), pipeline accidents and incidents are defined as follow:
Reportable commodity pipeline accident means an accident resulting directly from the operation of a commodity pipeline, where
Reportable commodity pipeline incident means an incident resulting directly from the operation of a commodity pipeline, where
Pipeline occurrences after 01 July 2014
As of 01 July 2014, the new reporting provisions of the TSB regulations came into effect. According to section 4(1) of the TSB Regulations, the operator of a pipeline must report the following pipeline occurrences to the Board if they result directly from the operation of the pipeline:
Pipeline accidents after 01 July 2014
For 2014 statistical reporting, pipeline accidents as of 01 July 2014 consist of reportable pipeline occurrences that resulted in:
- loss of human life;
- a serious injuryFootnote 11
- a fire or explosion that causes a pipeline or facility to be inoperative;
- a low vapour pressure hydrocarbon release in excess of 1.5 m³ that leaves company property or the right-of-way;
- a ruptureFootnote 12 ; or
- a toxic plumeFootnote 13.
Pipeline incidents after 01 July 2014
For 2014 statistical reporting, pipeline incidents as of 01 July 2014 consist of all reportable pipeline occurrences other than pipeline accidents.
- Footnote 1
The size of the federally regulated pipeline system, the number of companies, and the volumes of product transported were provided by the National Energy Board (NEB).
- Footnote 2
Refer to Definitions for the definition of pipeline accidents. The 2016 Statistical Summary was the second full year of data following the change in the definitions of pipeline accidents and incidents, which occurred in July 2014.
- Footnote 3
Pipeline activity is provided by the National Energy Board (NEB).
- Footnote 4
One exajoule = 1018 joules (A joule is a unit of work or energy equal to the work done by a force of one newton acting through a distance of one metre.)
- Footnote 5
In 2009, there was a 38% increase in the size of the federally regulated pipeline system when an additional 23 705 kilometres of pipeline and associated facilities were transferred from provincial jurisdiction.
- Footnote 6
Source: NEB (estimated).
- Footnote 7
A change in the definition of pipeline accidents occurred in July 2014.
- Footnote 8
New TSB regulations came into effect on 01 July 2014. Under the new reporting requirements, unintended or uncontained releases of low vapour pressure hydrocarbons from pipelines are only reportable if they are in excess of 1.5 m3 in volume.
- Footnote 9
Refer to Definitions for the definition of pipeline incidents.
- Footnote 10
“Safety zone” means the area extending 30 m perpendicularly from the centre of a pipeline on either side of the pipeline.
- Footnote 11
As defined in the Transportation Safety Board Regulations.
- Footnote 12
An instantaneous release that immediately impairs the operation of a pipeline such that pressure cannot be maintained.
- Footnote 13
As defined in Canadian Standards Association Standard Z662.
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