Pipeline Industry in Canada
Pipelines are a critical part of our nation’s energy infrastructure, helping supply millions of Canadians and Americans with the oil and natural gas they need. With the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX), Coastal GasLink (CGL) and LNG Canada, we are set to begin delivering more of our responsibly produced energy to an increasing number of international buyers.
Reaching new global energy markets great news for Canadian jobs and prosperity, global energy security and global emissions reductions, as these new pipeline projects will allow us to ship substantial supplies via tidewater for the first time in history.
But when people think of pipelines, the smaller networks that transport energy from production sites to refineries and then to consumers are often left out of the picture. These networks are critical for Canada and other developed countries around the world to enjoy the benefits of having energy in abundance which often correlates to an exceptionally high standard of living and quality of life.
Without pipelines, countless homes and businesses across Canada would go without electricity and heat, and refineries without feedstock, creating massive shortages for thousands of day-to-day petroleum products we all rely on, not to mention the lost employment opportunities and public/private sector revenues that go with.
Pipeline Capacity & Discounts
When talking about the pipeline industry in Canada, it is critical we have balanced, fact-based and honest discussions on these critical energy infrastructure lines.
This is not an either-or conversation, but one that must recognize the benefits of pipelines for Canadians, their record of performance within our nation, and the world-class regulatory framework we have in place to ensure operations are conducted safely without harm to workers, the public or the environment.
It is also a conversation that must bring into context what is happening worldwide. Several major oil and gas producing nations continue to build oil and gas pipelines rapidly due to projected growth in energy demand of all forms for years to come, especially in various emerging market economies of Asia and Africa.
Today, Canada’s pipeline capacity shortage and reliance on one customer - which buys 100% of our natural gas and 97% of our crude oil exports - has resulted in a steep price discount on Canadian-made energy.
New pipeline capacity is expected to reduce the countless millions Canada loses every day out of its economy due to discounted oil and natural gas, money which could be used to build new schools, hospitals and roads, for example.
It makes sense to build these pipeline projects to create prosperity. Unfortunately, Canada has a long history of cancelled projects that would have brought immense benefits to Canadians, Indigenous communities, global energy security and the environment. Also see:
Canada's Pipeline Industry: Facts
- 97% of Canadian crude oil and natural gas production is transported by transmission pipelines (NRC)
- Canada exported $140 billion of oil and natural gas in 2021, a large majority of which was transported by pipelines (NRC)
- 119,000 kilometres of transmission pipelines are operated by CEPA members in Canada, enough to circle our planet three times (CEPA)
- 830,000 kilometres of pipelines (gathering, transmission and delivery lines) exist in an extensive underground network across Canada (CEPA)
- In 2015, Canada’s transmission pipelines added $11.5 billion to Canada’s economy (CEPA)
- 34,000 full-time equivalent jobs are supported by the Canadian pipeline industry (CEPA)
- Pipelines are responsible for just 1% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CEPA)
- 4,200 railcars would be needed to transport the 3.4 million barrels of crude oil produced by Canada each day (CEPA)
Pipelines & Environmental Leadership
- Between 2002-2015, 99.999% of all liquid product and natural gas was transported safely by the pipeline industry (CEPA)
- Pipelines have been shown to reduce GHG emissions associated with the transport of oil and natural gas by 61% to 77% versus rail (University of Alberta)
- Pipelines are 4.5x safer to transport oil and natural gas versus rail (University of Alberta)
- Trans Mountain has been safely moving oil from Alberta to British Columbia for transport via tankers since the 1950s (TMX)
- In 2016, Canada’s pipeline industry invested $22.8 million into innovative technology to improve performance and safety (CEPA)
- Canada’s pipeline industry operates at the highest level of standards across the world - the Canadian pipeline standards document is more than 500 pages in length and describes in detail the technical and operational requirements by law (CEPA)
Anti-Canadian development activists oppose the construction of all pipelines in Canada, citing decreasing demand for oil and natural gas despite major energy organizations projecting global consumption of both commodities to continue to hit new record highs for years to come.
Repeated (and sometimes successful) attempts to delay projects like Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink dwarf the opportunity lost for Canadians when projects like Energy East and Northern Gateway were cancelled in 2016 and 2017. These projects would have generated tens of billions in government revenues, created thousands of jobs, and generated substantial prosperity for urban and rural communities nationwide.
The only winners when Canadian pipelines are cancelled or stalled are other major oil and natural gas producing nations that are more than happy to meet growing global demand. Often, these producers do not have anywhere near the same level of protection for human rights and the environment that Canada does.
By supporting pipelines, Canadians can start standing up for what is good for our country, Indigenous communities, our closest allies and trade partners, and the global environment. These major infrastructure projects have immense benefits, such as allowing us to fund more renewable energy projects while decreasing the discount we take on our oil and gas!
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