Pipeline integrity

Design, construct, inspect and maintain pipeline systems to protect people and the environment.

How CEPA members improve performance

Canada and the world count on pipelines for the safe delivery of the energy they need for life and prosperity. CEPA Integrity First® was created by CEPA members with the primary purpose of continuously improving the performance of Canada’s energy pipeline industry and ensuring the safety of those who live and work around pipelines while protecting the environment.

Through Integrity First, CEPA members work collaboratively to share their knowledge and innovations to drive industry-wide performance improvements in pipeline safety, environmental protection and socio-economic practices. Integrity First enables pipeline companies to work together to make our industry better – focusing on safety, transparency and responsible operations – striving toward our goal of zero incidents.

10 key priorities:

Integrity First cycle
Integrity First ensures that each priority is put through a six-stage process that is supported by CEPA and built on a solid foundation of strategic communications and change management.


Pipeline integrity means ensuring a pipeline and all its related components are safe for the life of the pipeline. CEPA members focus on continuously improving pipeline integrity through every aspect of the pipeline life cycle, including design, construction, operations, maintenance and retirement.

Priority commitments

Through CEPA Integrity First®, CEPA members have identified the following commitments for pipeline integrity:

  • Strive for zero incidents by applying strict standards and systems in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining pipelines.
  • Maintain and use detailed information and records to make informed decisions that support the pipeline integrity program.
  • Identify, evaluate and manage risks and hazards to protect the public, the environment and pipeline integrity.
  • Share lessons learned to support the ongoing safe operations of pipelines.
Priority stage

Integrity First ensures that each priority is put through a six-stage cycle that is supported by CEPA and built on a solid foundation of strategic communications and change management.

Find out more about the cycle and each stage.

2,665 Integrity digs

CEPA member companies conducted 2,665 integrity digs to examine pipelines for defects and make repairs – that’s a total of 29,425 integrity digs since 2008. The number of integrity digs in any given year is not a set number. Each company decides when and where to perform an integrity dig, based on the results of in-line inspections and according to members’ operations and management programs.

51,563 Kilometres of in-line inspection

In 2018, CEPA members conducted in-line inspection runs on 51,563 kilometres of pipelines in Canada using highly sophisticated tools called “smart pigs” that examine pipelines from the inside to identify issues such as metal loss, dents and cracks that may require further investigation.

Are pipelines safe?

Yes, they are the safest way to transport the energy Canada and the world need. In fact, Canadian transmission pipelines are among the safest in the world.

In 2018, Canada’s 121,000-kilometre network of transmission pipelines moved 97 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and onshore crude oil production to the people who need it (the other 3 per cent was by rail or truck).

Out of 1.6 billion barrels of oil transported by CEPA members, a total of 11.3 barrels were spilled and couldn’t be recovered. These remaining barrels dissipate through volatilization (similar to evaporation) and other natural processes. While this is only a tiny percentage of oil transported, no amount spilled is acceptable to CEPA members, who work toward a common goal of zero incidents.

CEPA members work together to continuously improve what are already among the highest safety standards, and best safety records, in the world. Over 51,000 kilometres of transmission pipeline were inspected from the inside in 2018, and over 2,600 integrity digs were performed to check any anomalies identified. Hundreds of exercises were performed to ensure CEPA member companies’ emergency response teams are prepared. Over $2 billion was spent on monitoring to ensure that your energy was delivered safely.

Canada and the world will need oil and natural gas long into the future, and you can count on CEPA members to get it to you in the safest, most responsible way.