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Safety is our number one value

Our goal is for our pipeline and energy facilities to operate safely every day so that the public, our workforce and the environment aren’t affected by an incident involving our assets. Safety is, and always will be, our number one value.

Pipeline safety

We aim for our pipelines and facilities to operate incident-free and to ensure our assets serve our people and communities across the continent for years to come.

  

Safer, more reliable delivery

Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly way to transport natural gas and petroleum – period. Our pipeline safety programs are among the most robust in the industry and the most important part of our business. From pipeline integrity innovations to investing in leak detection technology and public awareness programs, safety is the common link behind everything we do.

Investing in pipeline safety

One of the best demonstrations of our commitment to safety is our long-standing and ongoing Pipeline Integrity Program. This annual process maintains the integrity, safety and reliable operations of our pipeline systems. Our process includes:

  • Risk assessment
  • Threat identification and evaluation
  • Integrity monitoring to detect pipeline anomalies
  • Addressing pipeline anomalies through inspections and repairs
  • Additional monitoring, investigative excavation of the pipelines and engineering assessments
  • Review and learning.

On top of this program, every kilometre/mile of pipeline, pump, compressor facility or generating station is made using proven technology and integrated, industry-leading safety systems. Once constructed, all pipelines and facilities are monitored constantly, whether that’s from inside the pipe, on the ground or from the air.

Every year, we spend hundreds of millions on integrity and preventative maintenance programs to ensure the safe, reliable operations of our systems.

Preventing pipeline leaks from end to end

Leak prevention is a top priority. That’s why we take significant steps to prevent the chances of leaks before, during and after our pipelines and facilities are in use.

It begins during construction, with each joint of pipe being factory coated with high-performance coatings and carefully transported to the project location. Each individual weld is inspected using radiographic or ultrasonic techniques to ensure the highest quality welding. Qualified onsite inspectors visually inspect every phase of the installation process including lowering the pipe into the ditch, and then backfilling.

Once installed, a low voltage electrical current is applied to the pipeline to prevent corrosion and the pipe is tested with water (hydrostatic testing), pressurized to a higher level than would be experienced during operation. In the unlikely event of an incident, TC Energy takes full responsibility for emergency response, clean-up and costs.

Read more about our emergency planning.

Proactive detection

24 hours per day, 365 days a year, our Operations Control Centres (OCCs) manage some of the world’s most sophisticated pipeline monitoring technology.

At sites throughout North America, we conduct everything from aerial patrols (using low-flying aircraft and sensitive detection equipment), to geotechnical monitoring and searches for areas where erosion may have washed away the soil covering a pipeline.

In-line inspections are also part of our regular routine. Also known as 'pigging,' (Pipeline Inspection Gauge) these inspections use an internal inspection device called a 'smart-pig' to travel the length of a pipeline to collect data to monitor the condition of the pipeline. When an in-line inspection identifies a potential anomaly, investigative digs may also be conducted to expose the anomaly for further inspection and potential repair.

Whether the line carries natural gas or oil and liquids, at the first sign of a potential issue or irregularity, OCC operators stop pipeline flow within minutes, isolating the issue and helping protect the natural environment.

Detecting leaks and maintaining pipe integrity

Learn more about how innovative technology is helping us detect leaks and maintain pipeline integrity across the continent.

 

case-study-icon.png  CASE STUDY: Record-setting PIG run accelerates safety learnings on natural gas pipeline

Record-setting PIG run accelerates safety learnings on natural gas pipeline

In 2017, TC Energy led the industry by testing natural gas pipeline inspection gauge (PIG) limits with an almost 1,000 kilometre (621 mile) PIG run resulting in a North American record-setting inspection distance.

As effective and data-driven inline inspection tools, PIGs record and report pipeline integrity measurements to the company to ensure that the pipeline continues to operate safely. Previous to this PIG run, a 1,000 kilometre length of pipe would have required three separate inspections to cover the same distance. An increased amount of data in a shorter timeframe ensures that any issues can be addressed more quickly.

A collaborative and multigenerational team came together to bring this idea to fruition, pairing eagerness-to-learn with years of knowledge for improved testing, and ultimately, for safety.

Learn more

Constantly investing in new technology

Continually improving the integrity and reliability of our pipelines and facilities is, and always has been, one of our highest priorities. Here are some of the ways we’re doing it.

Pipelines and Operations

Pipelines and Operations  Ensuring safety

By partnering with industry peers, universities, colleges and governments, we’re part of one of the industry’s largest research and development programs. In fact, since 2013 we have invested more than $150 million towards research and innovation to advance safety, integrity and quality in our industry.

Pipelines and Operations

Pipelines and Operations  Improving efficiency

For more than half a century, we’ve been instrumental in testing new technologies to maximize pipeline efficiency – from safety improvements to minimizing emissions and more. By focusing our R&D dollars, we’re investing in the long-term sustainability of our operations.

Pipelines and Operations

Pipelines and Operations  Environmental stewardship

As part of our commitment to environmental stewardship, we work to minimize our environmental footprint as we strive to meet the energy needs of North Americans. We invest heavily in understanding the impacts our pipelines and facilities have on sensitive wildlife species and work to preserve and protect ecosystems throughout North America.

CASE STUDY: Adding ‘ears’ to pipeline monitoring

From our control centre operators to our detailed maintenance and inspection programs and regular ground and air patrols, there are a lot of eyes to ensure our pipelines that deliver the natural gas and oil that fuels our society do so safely. With Hifi’s new fiber optic technology currently being piloted on parts of our Keystone Pipeline System, we now also have ‘ears’ on pipeline monitoring.

Fiber optics ‘hear’ pipeline changes

Two fiber optic lines – one inside the pipeline and one outside – run the length of sections being piloted to provide an additional layer of safety. With data being processed at the speed of light, the fiber optic lines can report changes in pipeline sound, movement and temperature that could result from natural events, such as earthquakes, or man-made impacts such as construction.

With this data, the aim is for pipeline companies to be able to respond more quickly to possible leaks and apply ‘lessons learned’ to prevent future leaks.

Read more