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Enbridge, TransCanada join forces to advance pipeline safety

World Pipelines,

Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corporation have reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to pipeline safety and emergency response by signing a Joint Industry Partnership (JIP) agreement to conduct groundbreaking research in the area of leak detection.

The partnership includes a funding commitment from both TransCanada and Enbridge to evaluate cutting-edge technologies to enhance external leak detection at Edmonton research facility, using a state-of-the-art pipeline simulator developed by Enbridge and known as the External Leak Detection Experimental Research (ELDER) test apparatus.

Responsible development

By further enhancing safety and operational excellence, this partnership between Enbridge and TransCanada has the potential to benefit the entire industry – and directly address the public’s concerns over responsible development.

TransCanada and Enbridge will share equally in the new knowledge and advancements that can be applied directly to improve leak detection in their respective orders.


“Enbridge has said repeatedly as a company that we don’t compete in the area of safety, and this partnership with TransCanada represents clear proof of that approach. Enbridge has invested considerable time and resources into building a world-class leak detection testing apparatus, but we believe that working together with committed partners to discover the best technology on the market is in everyone’s best interest,” said Enbridge’s Kirk Brytus, Vice President of Pipeline Control.

“Pipelines have an excellent record of safety and efficiency delivering oil and gas, and TransCanada continues to strive for zero leaks or safety incidents on our pipelines,” said Vern Meier, TransCanada’s Vice President of Pipeline safety and compliance.

“Joining forces with Enbridge and other partners to test new methods for detecting leaks is an important step towards realising this goal. New technologies must be proven to work before they are implemented on large-scale transmission pipelines.”


The ELDER apparatus was purpose build by Enbridge’s Pipeline Control Systems and Leak Detection team, along with project research partner C-FER Technologies of Edmonton, to evaluate external leak detection technologies in a setting that closely represents the actual conditions where liquids pipelines are installed.

Engineers from Enbridge, TransCanada, and C-FER Technologies will be performing a series of tests in 2014 on four external leak-detection technologies – vapor-sensing tubes, fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing (DTS) systems, hydrocarbon-sensing cables, and fiber-optic distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) systems – and discovering which technology is optimal for external leak detection on liquids pipelines.

Though the JIP currently involves two players in TransCanada and Enbridge, it remains an open-ended arrangement. Other pipeline operators and energy industry leaders are invited to participate as committed partners.

Adapted from press release by Hannah Priestley-Eaton

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