Letters to the Editor

Pipelines key to our economy

We would like the opportunity to respond to reporter Phil Melnychuk’s article based on the facts.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 110,000 kilometres of pipeline in Canada.

In 2011, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year.

Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.

In Mr. Melnychuk’s article, he quotes a Maple Ridge lawyer, who is seeking the NDP nomination for Maple Ridge-Mission, as saying any economic benefit is “vastly outweighed by the potentially disastrous environmental damage that may be caused by the pipelines.”

Considering the large volume of product that is being transported every day by pipeline, the industry’s record is extremely good.

Our member companies deliver 99.9985 per cent of its volume safely every day.

However, any incident that occurs is not acceptable, and our member companies are working hard to improve their safety records.

Emergency response plans, that are tailored to the unique characteristics of the product being transported, are available and ready to be activated as soon as the pipeline operator is aware of the incident.

Secondly, Mr. Melynychuk’s article states, “If we stop these pipelines, we will be sending a clear message to the world that it is time to move towards clean, renewable energy sources.”

Despite the fact that Canadians could probably do more to become less dependent on fossil fuels, the reality is that will not happen overnight.

In the meantime, Canada needs pipelines in order to meet growing economic demand.

The pipeline industry is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy which helps benefit all Canadians.

The current lack of pipeline market access costs the Canadian economy approximately $40 million a day. This equates to a loss of export revenues totaling approximately $14 billion annually in trade. This revenue could be used to fund a variety of government programs that support Canadian families and businesses.

Thirdly, Mr. Melnychuk also quoted Sven Biggs from Tanker Free B.C., who said that diluted bitumen “causes more pipeline breaks than conventional oil.”

This is also not true.

A recent study by Alberta Innovates Technology Future (AITF) disputed these claims. In fact, the study found that diluted bitumen has properties very similar to those of conventional crude oil.

Furthermore, the AITF study concluded that there is no more risk of corrosion in pipelines carrying diluted bitumen than that found in pipelines transporting conventional crude oil.

And lastly, transporting diluted bitumen is not a new phenomenon.

Our member companies that transport diluted bitumen do so on a daily basis and have been transporting the product for more than 30 years.

The pipeline operators would never jeopardize their safety record and reputation, if they didn’t think that transporting diluted bitumen was safe.

Philippe Reicher,

vice-president,

external relations

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

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