Pipeline abandonment refers to the permanent removal from service of a pipeline. Depending on a number of factors, sections of pipeline may be abandoned in place or removed.
CEPA, the National Energy Board (NEB), the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and other stakeholders have collaborated to develop guidelines that operators can follow to abandon oil and gas pipelines in a manner that is safe, economic and environmentally sound. Technical and environmental issues associated with pipeline abandonment were discussed in “Pipeline Abandonment – A Discussion Paper on Technical and Environmental Issues” (NEB 1996). In 2007, CEPA published a report titled “Pipeline Abandonment Assumptions” which discussed technical and environmental considerations for development of pipeline abandonment strategies. A comprehensive review was undertaken by the NEB as part of the Land Matters Consultation Initiative (LMCI) which involved four discussion papers on the different topic areas, 45 meetings and workshops in 25 communities across Canada, and written submissions from 13 parties. The final LMCI report, published in 2009 recommended that knowledge gaps on the physical issues of pipeline abandonment be addressed (NEB 2009). Thus, Det Norske Veritas (DNV) was commissioned to conduct a literature review regarding the current understanding worldwide with respect to the physical and technical issues associated with onshore pipeline abandonment and use the results of the literature review to critically analyze and identify gaps in current knowledge, and make recommendations as to potential future research projects that could help to fill those gaps. DNV published this Scoping Study in November 2010.
CEPA and PTAC have established a framework for collaboration to guide and direct innovation and applied research, technology development, demonstration, and deployment to address knowledge gaps summarized in the DNV Scoping Study. Research findings from the CEPA-PTAC projects will be shared on a broad scale throughout the pipeline industry, the oil and gas industry, as well as with regulators, government agencies, and other stakeholders.