Leading the way on quality assurance
Making sure that all pipe and components used in Canada are safe and meet design specifications
October 26, 2021
As Canada’s federal energy regulator, we have a duty to make sure that all energy infrastructure under our watch is safe, secure and environmentally sound. Companies must follow our strict requirements and our expert staff follow-up to verify that these requirements are being met. Our Onshore Pipeline Regulations include many of the safety standards set out by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), for example CSA Z662:19, which looks at “Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems.” These standards, along with our regulations, make sure that our country’s energy industry is running safely.
CSA Group also has standards in place for the pipe manufacturers; however, the CER does not regulate this part of the industry. That being said, when we found out that there may have been pipe and components not meeting mechanical properties specifications installed on federally regulated pipelines, we knew we needed to take a closer look at this issue.
Here’s some of what we did:
- Between 2016 and 2018 we issued industry-wide Safety Advisories, Orders and Letters that required companies to identify all pipe and components that may not have met industry standards or company specifications.
- In 2017, we held a Technical Workshop where pipeline companies, distributors, manufacturers, regulators, academia, consulting companies and standard development organizations, like CSA Group, came together to discuss the issue.
- In 2018, we issued a White Paper called Recommendations to Improve Quality Assurance of Quenched and Tempered Pipeline Fittings that looked at areas of improvement.
These first steps required the companies we regulate to examine their facilities, such as pipelines and pump stations, to make sure their systems do not have pipe and components installed that do not meet standards. This was only one piece of the puzzle, because it didn’t address the manufacturing process issue. To do that, additional requirements for how pipe and components are made were needed.
The CER’s mandate is clear that we don’t regulate the manufacturing of pipe and components. But are we going to take this on anyways and lead the way so the industry is safer overall? One hundred per cent yes! Why? Because our whole approach to safety means we start taking action before there’s an incident where someone gets hurt or the environment is damaged.
The CER used CSA’s Express Document Process – a process that lets the CSA introduce new requirements in emerging areas or address issues more quickly. This process brings together experts from across the industry, including pipe/component manufacturers, distributors, end users, regulators as well as public comments, to develop the new document, in this case CSA EXP13, Quality assurance requirements for pipe and components.
The non-mandatory CSA EXP13 establishes additional requirements to the manufacturing and procurement processes of pipe and components. It is intended to complement current standards and regulations to close any potential gaps that could lead to quality issues. We are confident that this collaborative approach has resulted in a document that will aid in safety and protect the environment.
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