The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is the quasi-judicial agency that is responsible for regulating the development of Alberta’s energy resources. Its mandate is to ensure that the discovery, development, and delivery of Alberta’s energy resources takes place in a manner that is safe, fair, responsible, and in the public interest. The ERCB’s responsibilities include the regulation of over 400,000 km of high-pressure oil and gas pipelines, the majority of which is production field pipeline. ERCB regulations require pipeline licensees to report all pipeline failures, regardless of consequence, and thus a comprehensive data set exists pertaining to the failure frequency and failure causes of its regulated pipelines. Analysis has shown that corrosion is consistently the predominant cause of failure in steel production pipeline systems. Corrosion-resistant materials, such as fibre-composite pipe, thermoplastic pipe, and plastic-lined pipe have long been explored as alternatives to steel pipe, and have in fact been used in various forms for many years. The ERCB has encouraged the use of such materials where appropriate and has co-operated with licensees to allow the use of various types of new pipeline systems on an experimental basis, subject to technical assessment, service limitations, and periodic performance evaluations. This paper will review the types of composite pipe materials that have been used in Alberta, and present statistical data on the length of composite pipe in place, growth trends, failure causes and failure frequency. As the purpose of using alternative materials is to improve upon the performance history of steel, a comparison will be done to determine if that goal is being achieved.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.