To Abandon Or Not To Abandon? Liability Or Opportunity? These Are The Questions For Over 92,000 Km Worth Of Inactive Pipelines Across The WCSB

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On June 15, 2023, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) revised its pipeline abandonment cost estimate to C$18.6B, which is a 79% increase from the C$10.4B estimate released in 2019.

The national regulator attributed the escalation in costs to inflation, changes to company-owned infrastructure, and updated assumptions and costs (Source: CER – Decision in Brief: Pipeline Abandonment Funding Review).

The four western Canadian provinces are home to over 65,000 segments of pipeline (92,443 km) that are no longer actively flowing hydrocarbons and associated fluids. Some of these inactive pipeline segments have the potential to be brought back onstream, but the vast majority are destined to be formally abandoned under regulatory mandates where they will join over 170,717 km of existing abandoned pipeline segments.

Click here to view the pipeline data in an advanced geospatial platform — this visualized data is instantly available free of charge to guest users of geoLOGIC’s gDC Cloud.

Pipelines that have the potential to be reactivated could be for the same use or repurposed for hydrogen transport, CO2 transport or even as a conduit for electrical or fiber-optic infrastructure. Several factors influence whether these pipelines can be reactivated, including, but not limited to:

  • Location
  • Substance
  • Integrity
  • Metallurgy
  • operatorship/ownership
  • dimensions

Explore all of these details along with other attributes such as associated facility details and land ownership in gDC Cloud. Click here to view over 1,400 pipeline tickets and all of their associated data (for the region highlighted by the fuchsia polygon on the map) — all of this is instantly available free of charge to guest users of geoLOGIC’s gDC Cloud.

Alex Renaud is a Senior Engineering Advisor at geoLOGIC systems ltd.

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