Operational Safety Operational Safety

Operations

Safety is the very foundation of our business. At Enbridge, we believe that all pipeline incidents can be prevented.

We back up that belief with an aggressive prevention program to maintain the fitness of our systems. We also back up that belief with vigilance, hard work and an abundance of caution.

Explore our commitment to pipeline safety, on land and water, through this interactive experience.

PLEASE NOTE: The objects and terrain presented in this experience may not be to scale.

Operational Safety Operational Safety

While our new enbridge.com website is almost universally mobile-friendly, this particular interactive experience is best experienced in a desktop or laptop environment. Enjoy!

Safety: The very foundation of our business.

When it comes to fueling the quality of people’s lives, safety and reliability are built in to our energy infrastructure.

We invest heavily in an aggressive prevention program, which invested more than US$900 million (nearly C$1.2 billion) in 2018 on programs that help us maintain the fitness of our systems and detect leaks across our operations.

Take a by-the-numbers look at our performance on pipeline and facility integrity in 2018.


Safe Systems 24/7/365

An overview of our approach to pipeline safety.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

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Eyes in the sky.
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Regular aerial patrols

We regularly fly all of our 27,000 km (17,000 miles) of crude oil and liquids pipelines—watching out for potential issues, including excavation or third-party activity near our pipelines that might pose a risk to safety.

Meticulous selection of pipeline routes

We plan all routes in consultation with landowners, First Nations, Metis and Native Americans, neighboring communities, environmental groups and regulators. We propose routes chosen to minimize the impact on the land, the environment and wildlife.

Preventing third-party damage

We communicate regularly with our neighbors about our systems, projects and operations, to make sure they know how to stay safe around our facilities, pipelines and distribution systems. This helps to reduce third-party damage, one of the leading causes of pipeline leaks.

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Boots on the ground.
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Regular ground patrols

We regularly patrol pipeline rights-of-way, continuously monitor our emergency hotlines, and respond to any potential problems along our rights-of-way.

Call/Click Before You Dig programs

Buried utilities deliver important services we all rely on—such as electricity, water, cable and data, as well as oil and gas transportation and distribution. To protect public safety, and the systems that deliver these key services, one-call and online programs exist across the United States and Canada for anyone planning to dig, whether it's construction excavation or landscaping activities like planting trees or building fences and decks.

Pipeline monitoring

We monitor our entire pipeline network around the clock, 365 days a year, from our dedicated pipeline control center.
Specially trained staff, working with sophisticated computer monitoring systems,
keep a close watch over the operation of our pipeline network to keep it running safely and reliably.

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Monitoring round the clock

Enbridge’s entire crude oil and liquids pipeline network is monitored 24/7/365 by a dedicated team of specially trained Enbridge staff members at our Pipeline Control Center in Edmonton, Canada. These controllers undergo a comprehensive six- to nine-month training program before they are qualified to operate consoles independently.

All system alarms generated by our automated leak detection equipment, and relayed to our control center staff, are assumed to be leaks until they are conclusively proven otherwise.

We monitor our pipelines for possible leaks using multiple computerized systems, each with a different focus and each using different technology, resources, and timing. Together, these methods provide overlapping and layered leak detection capabilities. Learn more about leak detection and prevention systems for our crude oil network here.

Keeping a watchful eye

Our gas transmission pipeline network is also monitored 24/7. Trained staff at Enbridge’s Gas Control Center in Houston keep watch over Enbridge’s vast network of transmission pipelines as we safely and reliably transport natural gas from various supply sources to key delivery markets across the United States.

It’s their job to keep the pipelines operating safely, monitor all our facilities and prevent incidents from occurring. Learn more.

From the outside in

Enbridge is testing promising new external leak detection systems to add to our toolkit. These include sophisticated devices that use sensitive acoustic sensing to “listen” for leaks. We’ve led industry partnerships to test innovative leak detection methods, including vapor-sensing tubes, fiber optic cables, and hydrocarbon-sensing cables.

Data, Detection and Diligence (Part 1): A 'hands-on' leak detection method

Data, Detection and Diligence (Part 2): 'Blind tests' that help keep eyes wide open

Data, Detection and Diligence (Part 3): Keeping watch with a 'defense in depth' philosophy

Data, Detection and Diligence (Part 4): Practice makes perfect with world-class training tools

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A commitment true as steel.
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The gold standard in pipelines

The safety of our pipelines starts with the best steel and the best-made pipe—the gold standard when it comes to pipelines.

Our pipe steel itself is made of 96% recycled metal. This alloy is not only a greener product, but also represents excellent chemistry for line pipe.

Weld quality in the pipe mill is examined by the manufacturer using automated ultrasonic devices, and Enbridge inspectors audit those results.

Learn more.

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Adapting and harnessing technology.
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Better, safer pipelines

Delivering energy safely is a science that’s becoming increasingly sophisticated.

We engage leading experts in the field to advance and refine inline inspection technology. This includes supporting the research, development and testing of new tools and technologies.

Explore our Innovation section
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Using welding's innovative "arc."
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Harnessing decades of welding innovation.

Our pipeline projects now benefit from more than 50 years of welding engineering and pipe design innovation.

In the pipe mill, Enbridge’s supplier uses a Double Submerged Arc Welding (DSAW) process to create strong seam weld joints on either helical seams or straight seams.

In the field, crews working on major projects join together segments of pipe with girth welds, using the Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) process. Qualified welders operate automated welding units—one that performs an initial weld from the interior, another that completes the work from the exterior.

Out on the pipeline right-of-way, an independent third party tests all welds, primarily using ultrasonic technology, with Enbridge auditors reviewing all of the scans as a second pair of eyes on the initial evaluations.

Learn more about the welding component of Enbridge's major projects.

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The 'pig-and-dig' approach
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Preventative pipeline maintenance

Enbridge's ongoing preventative maintenance program includes regular examinations of our pipes, using our in-line inspection tools, and preventative maintenance digs—some of which may happen in your area. Our focus on prevention is just one aspect of our multi-pronged approach to safety.

Watch our preventative pipeline maintenance video

See our maintenance dig fact sheet for crude and liquids pipelines.

See our maintenance dig fact sheet for gas transmission pipelines.

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Healthy and fit for purpose.
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Healthy pipelines

Maintaining the fitness of our pipes is key to ensuring a safe network. We’ve never experienced an internal corrosion failure on our mainline network, and we employ multiple measures to ensure pipeline fitness, including:

  • Robust pipeline coatings, consisting of fusion-bonded epoxy, to curb corrosion
  • Regular monitoring and inspections
  • Cathodic protection—applying a low electrical current to the steel in the pipeline—to protect against corrosion
  • Enforcing stringent quality standards—for viscosity, density, temperature and other factors—for every batch of oil entering our pipeline network
  • Injecting chemicals into the oil in our lines to neutralize corrosion
  • Regular inline cleaning with specialized tools
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Technology from the inside out.
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Focused on prevention

We are focused on preventing incidents before they occur, and ongoing pipeline inspections play a key role in our prevention strategy.

We complete hundreds of in-line inspections annually on our pipeline and distribution systems. These inspections allow us to monitor the physical condition of the pipelines from the inside out, using sophisticated tools to gather the information we need to keep our systems healthy and in excellent condition.

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Hydrotesting: An extra fitness check.
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Hydrostatic testing

We hydrostatically test all new pipelines prior to putting them into service.

Each pipe section is filled with water and subjected to 1.25 to 1.5 times the maximum allowable operating pressure to ensure the strength and structural integrity of the pipe, welded joints, valves and fittings.

As with all our activities, we conduct hydrostatic testing with a focus on protecting the safety of our neighbors and the public, our employees and the environment.

Learn more about our hydrostatic testing procedure.


Cracking the code

Enbridge and NDT Global, a leading ultrasonic pipeline inspection firm, continue to advance a multi-year project to develop a next-generation in-line inspection (ILI) tool—or robot, in NDT Global’s lexicon—that will advance crack assessment prowess in crude oil pipelines.

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Smart pigs, safe pipes

Since 1998, Baker Hughes, a GE company, has performed more than 400 pipeline inspections across Enbridge’s pipeline network, producing more than 70,000 kilometers’ worth of inspection data.

Read our Smart Pigs, Safe Pipes blog series to find out how in-line inspections are advancing safety in the pipeline industry.

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Emergency response readiness

While our primary focus is on preventing incidents from occurring, it's also important to be prepared. We hope we never have to respond to a pipeline leak—but if we do, we're ready.

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Operational Safety
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Ready and willing in the depths of winter.
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Responding quickly and effectively—in any season

While Enbridge focuses primarily on prevention methods to keep our pipeline network healthy, as displayed elsewhere on this page, we also invest heavily in the tools, technologies and systems that ensure a safe, quick and effective response in the event of a spill.

And why do we stay sharp, even in winter? Because pipeline emergency preparedness doesn’t take winter breaks. We regularly hold emergency response drills in the winter months, as we do during the rest of the year, but these focus specifically on winter spill containment and recovery tactics.

Read about our purchase and deployment of a Lamor Arctic Skimmer tool in Michigan.

Read about one of our winter drills in Devils Lake, North Dakota.

WATERCOURSE CROSSINGS

Water is a treasured resource for all of us. Enbridge takes special precautions
to protect the environment where our pipelines cross waterways or other sensitive areas.

Intelligent, remotely controlled valves

Isolation valves, which control or stop the flow of crude oil, are a key piece of pipeline safety equipment. We monitor our pipeline system 24/7/365, and we can remotely close a valve immediately on detection of a potential problem—with full closure within three minutes of activation.

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Right valves, right locations.
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Intelligent Valve Placement

See how we use isolation valves in a variety of situations to control the flow of crude oil and liquids in our pipelines.

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Minimizing the impact with Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technology.
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Horizontal Directional Drilling

We use horizontal directional drilling to minimize disturbance and increase the safety of our systems when we lay pipelines beneath large rivers or sensitive crossings.

Horizontal directional drilling

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Going below the surface.
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Underwater inspections

As with surface examinations, our high-tech in-line inspection tools examine the pipe inch by inch, from the inside out.

In special cases, like our Line 5 Straits of Mackinac underwater crossing in northern Michigan, we also use specially trained scuba divers and remotely operated submersibles to thoroughly examine the pipe’s exterior and its immediate environment.

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Water access in times of drought.
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'You lose that water access ... that is devastation'

Find out how we worked with Saskatchewan irrigation farmers during our Line 3 pipeline replacement to ensure they had a vital supply of water for their crops.

SEE THE VIDEO

You’ve seen how we build safety into our operations. Now, find out how Enbridge actively supports research and innovation as we adapt and harness technology to improve safety and reliability.