Plains Midstream Canada (PMC) completes a watercourse crossing program as part of its overall integrity management program. The approximately 9,900 kilometers of operating and discontinued pipelines are evaluated within the watercourse crossing program. The pipelines are located throughout the Canadian Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The terrain traversed ranges from relatively steep near the Rocky Mountains to extremely flat in northern Alberta and Southern Ontario. Since 2008, PMC’s systematic watercourse crossing program has evolved and now consists of approximately 5,000 individual watercourse crossings. The bankfull width of the watercourses ranges from less than 1 m for intermittent streams to more than 700 m at major rivers.
The watercourse crossing program is subjected to a continuous improvement process, with a focus on key learnings from pipeline failures, free spans and exposure. This paper describes the results from the program over the last 10 years and highlights program improvements. In addition, data from a failure and three free spans on the pipelines now owned by PMC, but where the exposure, free span or failure occurred prior to PMC purchasing the pipelines were added to expand the available data for the key learnings.