Statistical Summary – Pipeline Occurrences 2011

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Foreword

This document provides users of Canadian pipeline safety data with an annual summary of selected statistics on pipeline occurrences. It covers federally regulated pipelines only. Non-federally regulated data reported to the TSB are not included in this report.

Users of these statistics are advised that, in a live database, the occurrence data are constantly being updated. Consequently, the statistics can change slightly over time. Further, as many occurrences are not formally investigated, information recorded for some occurrences will not have been verified. Therefore, caution should be used when using these statistics. The 2011 statistics presented in this document reflect the TSB database as of 15 February 2012.

To enhance awareness and increase the safety value of the material presented in this document, readers are permitted to copy or reprint in whole, or in part, for further distribution (with acknowledgement of the source).

The TSB is an independent agency operating under its own Act of Parliament. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety.


Pipeline occurrences in 2011

In 2011, in the federally-regulated pipeline system1, 34 companies transported 191 million cubic metres of oil (1.2 billion barrels) along 17,508 kilometers of active oil mainline and gathering lines. Sixty companies transported 151 billion cubic metres of natural gas (5.3 trillion cubic feet) along 52,024 kilometers of active natural gas mainline transmission and distribution lines.

Accidents

Five pipeline accidents were reported to the TSB in 2011, down from the 2010 total of 11, and below the 2006–2010 average of 9. Accidents involve pipelines (i.e., transmission lines) or other facilities such as compressor stations, pump stations, meter stations, and gas processing plants. Of the five accidents reported in 2011, two involved pipelines, two occurred at meter stations, and one occurred at a terminal. The last fatal accident on a federally-regulated pipeline system occurred in 1988. One accident resulting in a serious injury occurred in 2006 and another serious injury occurred in 2009.

According to information provided by the National Energy Board, estimated pipeline activity increased 4% from 2010. An indicator of pipeline transportation safety in Canada is the pipeline accident rate. The 2011 rate was 0.4 pipeline accidents per exajoule2, down from 2010 (0.9) and down from the 2006–2010 average of 0.7 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Accidents3 and accident rate 4 (accidents per exajoule 5) [D]
Accidents and accident rate (accidents per exajoule)

Nearly 50% of pipeline accidents over the 10 year period (2002–2011) occurred at compressor stations and gas processing plants and 20% occurred on transmission lines (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Accidents by facility type, 2002–2011 [D]
Accidents by facility type, 2002-2011

Over the 2002-2011 period, 63 of the 105 accidents had a release of product. Twenty-one of these involved release of natural gas, all less than one cubic metre6. Seventeen involved release of crude oil, with one over 1000 cubic metres, three between 26 and 1000 cubic metres, four between 1 and 25 cubic metres, and nine less than 1 cubic metre.

Figure 3. Quantity released for accidents where product was released, 2002–2011 [D]

Quantity released for accidents where product was released, 2002-2011

Incidents

In 2011, 165 pipeline incidents were reported to the TSB in accordance with the mandatory reporting requirements, up from 145 in 2010 and the five-year average of 95.

Figure 4. Pipeline incidents, 2002–2011 [D]

Pipeline incidents, 2002-2011

The significant increase in pipeline incidents since 2002 may in part be accounted for by the progressive implementation of improved inspection technologies across the pipeline industry, which has resulted in increased detection of small releases. Also, some of the uncontained releases were associated with the repair or start-up of new facilities. In addition, the conversion of a gas pipeline to an oil pipeline, and the associated change in the operating pressure, may have increased the number of oil leaks. Finally, some pipeline infrastructure was constructed in the 1950s, and may be becoming more susceptible to leaking with age.

Over the coming year the TSB will be examining these and other potential factors to determine their relative contribution to the overall incident increase.

In 2011, 28% of pipeline incidents occurred at pump stations, followed by 19% on transmission lines (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Incidents by facility type, 2011 [D]

Incidents by facility type, 2011

In 2011, 83% of incidents involved uncontained or uncontrolled release of less than 25 cubic metres of gas, oil or high-vapour-pressure product, and 12% involved no release of product. Three incidents involved release of between 26 and 1000 cubic metres of natural gas, and five involved release of more than 1000 cubic metres of natural gas (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Quantity released for incidents where product was released, 2011 [D]
Quantity released for incidents where product was released, 2011


Appendix A: Pipeline occurrence tables

Table 1. Pipeline accidents and incidents by type, 2002-2011
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accidents 20 21 7 5 8 7 6 15 11 5
Total, line pipe 7 4 0 2 1 2 0 6 1 2
3rd party damage with release 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
Disturbance of supporting environment with release 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Corrosion/Environmental cracking 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Fire/Ignition/Explosion 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 1
Other damage with release 4 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 0
Total, other facilities (a) 13 17 7 3 7 5 6 9 10 3
3rd party damage 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 1
Corrosion/Environmental cracking 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Fire/Ignition/Explosion 6 15 6 3 6 4 4 7 6 2
Other damage with release 7 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 0
Incidents 35 38 74 79 63 64 84 118 145 165
Total, line pipe 6 5 25 21 11 14 13 20 16 20
3rd party damage no release 2 2 1 0 3 2 3 5 2 1
Disturbance of supporting environment no release 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 0 2
Uncontained release 3 3 16 17 5 9 5 9 7 13
Other 0 0 8 1 3 2 5 5 7 4
Total, other facilities 29 33 49 58 52 50 71 98 129 145
3rd party damage no release 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0
Uncontained release 25 29 45 54 51 45 61 86 119 122
Other 4 4 4 4 1 5 8 11 10 23
Data extracted February 15, 2012.
Federally regulated pipeline occurrences.
Reportable pipeline occurrences after 2003 reflect the impact of clarifications to the pipeline industry of the TSB's accident and incident reporting requirements, and of internal adjustments to the data in TSB's Pipeline Occurrence Database System.
Table 2. Pipeline activity and accident rate, 2002-2011
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accidents 20 21 7 5 8 7 6 15 11 5
Natural gas products (exajoules) 6.7 6.5 6.5 6.6 6.6 6.5 6.2 5.9 5.6 5.6
Petrolium products (exajoules) 6 6.4 6.5 6.3 6.5 6.6 6.3 6.5 6.8 7.3
Total (exajoules) 12.7 12.9 13 12.9 13.1 13.1 12.5 12.4 12.4 12.9
Number of accidents per exajoule 1.57 1.63 0.54 0.39 0.61 0.53 0.48 1.21 0.89 0.39
Data extracted February 15, 2012.
Federally regulated pipeline occurrences.
Source: National Energy Board (estimated)
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.)
Table 3. Pipeline accidents and incidents by province, 2002-2011
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accidents 20 21 7 5 8 7 6 15 11 5
Nova Scotia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Brunswick 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Quebec 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ontario 2 1 0 1 1 2 1 5 2 2
Manitoba 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0
Saskatchewan 4 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 1 1
Alberta 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 4 4 1
British Columbia 11 14 7 2 5 3 4 4 3 0
Northwest Territories 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Incidents 35 38 74 79 63 64 84 118 145 165
Nova Scotia 1 2 0 1 1 2 1 0 1 5
New Brunswick 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 6 14
Quebec 1 2 3 4 1 3 2 4 2 2
Ontario 5 1 11 7 7 8 17 20 19 21
Manitoba 3 3 6 3 8 4 10 9 14 11
Saskatchewan 8 9 11 23 14 10 17 13 38 34
Alberta 4 3 9 21 11 11 16 36 51 55
British Columbia 13 18 32 16 20 23 19 26 13 11
Northwest Territories 0 0 2 4 1 2 2 5 1 12
Data extracted February 15, 2012.
Federally regulated pipeline occurrences.
Table 4. Pipeline accidents and incidents by facility type, 2002-2011
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accidents 20 21 7 5 8 7 6 15 11 5
Compressor station 5 5 1 0 4 2 2 3 5 0
Gathering line 4 6 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0
Injection/Delivery facility 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Meter station 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 2
Gas processing plant 5 7 5 1 1 0 2 3 0 0
Pump station 2 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0
Storage facility 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Terminal 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 1
Transmission line 4 1 0 2 1 3 0 7 1 2
Other 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Incidents 35 38 74 79 63 64 84 118 145 165
Compressor station 7 7 5 10 8 8 20 32 26 22
Gathering line 3 3 7 8 5 5 5 9 7 7
Injection/Delivery facility 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Meter station 0 0 0 0 1 5 2 13 21 20
Gas processing plant 6 12 20 7 9 4 8 8 5 3
Pump station 8 5 16 27 18 15 20 26 30 46
Storage facility 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Terminal 5 5 7 11 9 11 10 13 21 26
Transmission line 4 3 15 13 12 14 17 16 32 32
Other 2 3 4 3 1 2 1 1 2 7
Data extracted February 15, 2012.
Federally regulated pipeline occurrences.
Table 5. Pipeline accidents and incidents with released by product type, 2002-2011
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accidents 14 13 5 3 2 3 3 8 8 4
Condensate 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Liquified petroleum gas 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Natural gas 4 4 0 1 1 1 0 5 3 2
Natural gas liquids 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Petroleum crude oil 3 2 0 1 1 2 1 1 4 2
Refined products 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Sour gas 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Acid gas 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 3 6 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Incidents 30 35 66 71 56 55 69 96 129 145
Condensate 1 1 3 0 1 0 1 1 2 0
Liquified petroleum gas 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 1
Natural gas 5 10 14 16 14 19 26 37 55 59
Natural gas liquids 7 6 3 5 1 0 0 0 0 3
Petroleum crude oil 7 4 22 38 24 24 28 32 54 70
Refined products 0 1 0 1 2 1 1 2 4 0
Sour gas 3 2 9 5 3 5 1 7 2 2
Acid gas 0 0 2 2 0 1 1 0 0 1
Other 7 11 13 3 10 5 10 16 10 9
Data extracted February 15, 2012.
Federally regulated pipeline occurrences.
Table 6. Pipeline accidents and incidents by quantity released, 2002-2011
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Accidents 14 13 5 3 2 3 3 8 8 4
Less than 1 cubic metre 10 13 5 2 1 1 2 7 8 3
1 to 25 cubic metres 2 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
26 to 1000 cubic metres 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1
Greater than 1000 cubic metres 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Incidents 30 35 66 71 56 55 69 96 129 145
Less than 1 cubic metre 21 27 48 56 47 44 53 87 119 125
1 to 25 cubic metres 6 4 8 9 4 7 13 5 5 12
26 to 1000 cubic metres 1 3 2 4 5 2 3 3 5 3
Greater than 1000 cubic metres 2 1 8 2 0 2 0 1 0 5
Data extracted February 15, 2012.
Federally regulated pipeline occurrences.

Appendix B: Definitions

The following definitions apply to pipeline occurrences that are required to be reported pursuant to the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and the associated regulations.

Pipeline

A pipeline that is used for the transportation of commodities and includes all branches, extensions, pumps, racks, compressors, loading facilities, storage facilities, reservoirs, tanks, preparation plants, separation plants, interstation systems of communication and property and works connected therewith.

Pipeline occurrence

  1. Any accident or incident associated with the operation of a pipeline, and
  2. Any situation or condition that the Board has reasonable grounds to believe could, if left unattended, induce an accident or incident referred to in paragraph (a);

Reportable commodity pipeline accident

An accident resulting directly from the operation of a commodity pipeline, where:

  1. a person sustains a serious injury or is killed as a result of being exposed to
    1. a fire, ignition or explosion, or
    2. a commodity released from the commodity pipeline, or
  2. the commodity pipeline
    1. sustains damage affecting the safe operation of the commodity pipeline as a result of being contacted by another object or as a result of a disturbance of its supporting environment,
    2. causes or sustains an explosion, or a fire or ignition that is not associated with normal operating circumstances, or
    3. sustains damage resulting in the release of any commodity;

Reportable commodity pipeline incident

An incident resulting directly from the operation of a commodity pipeline, where:

  1. an uncontained and uncontrolled release of a commodity occurs,
  2. the commodity pipeline is operated beyond design limits,
  3. the commodity pipeline causes an obstruction to a ship or to a surface vehicle owing to a disturbance of its supporting environment,
  4. any abnormality reduces the structural integrity of the commodity pipeline below design limits,
  5. the commodity pipeline causes an obstruction to a ship or to a surface vehicle owing to a disturbance of its supporting environment,
  6. any activity in the immediate vicinity of the commodity pipeline poses a threat to the structural integrity of the commodity pipeline, or
  7. the commodity pipeline, or a portion thereof, sustains a precautionary or emergency shut- down for reasons that relate to or create a hazard to the safe transportation of a commodity;

Serious injury

An injury that is likely to require admission to a hospital.


  1. Source: National Energy Board (estimated). 
  2. 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.) 
  3. Reportable pipeline occurrences after 2003 reflect the impact of clarifications to the pipeline industry of the TSB's accident and incident reporting requirements, and of internal adjustments to the data in TSB's Pipeline Occurrence Database System. 
  4. In 2009, there was a 38% increase in federally regulated pipeline and associated facilities when an additional 23 705 kilometres of pipeline were transferred from provincial jurisdiction. 
  5. Source: National Energy Board (estimated). 
  6. One cubic metre equals 35.3 cubic feet.