Full disclosure: I do not have any financial interest in the Canadian Pipeline Industry but that may very well change after the discussion I had at a social gathering last night.
this Good News for Planet Earth
A few years ago, I imagined a scenario where oil pipelines would have some sort of automatic shut-off valves in small increments (eg: every kilometer or so) along the line, so that in the event of a breach, any spill could be immediately contained within a restricted length. Sounds practical and safe(r), right?
I met a pipeline worker last night at a social event who put it to me like this: he works for Enbridge, which is a major supplier of pipelines. He informed me that they are the proprietary owners of a very innovative new technology that in essence, creates the safeguard described above.
For every kilometer of pipeline that they lay, a system of automatic valves are integrated into the system. Called "Emergency Flow Restrictor Device", or EFRD, the concept is elegant and ingenious. The EFRD is an information-sending apparatus that communicates in real time with an array of computer screens manned by a team of technicians. If there is ever the slightest increase or decrease in the PSI flow of material through the pipeline, (which might indicate a breach aka leak) the valves that were up to that point open to allow the flow of material SNAP SHUT on either end of the one KM length in which they are installed. This effectively isolates the breach from the rest of the line and dramatically minimizes the potential volume of unwanted discharge, thus mitigating environmental damages.
From what I understand, Enbridge has incorporated this technology, and in doing so, has "raised the bar" for the industry world-wide!
Considering the fact that the pipeline industry is currently valued at 17.5 BILLION dollars, in consideration of all the intensive labor and of course, the spin-off benefits to the Canadian economy, this technological breakthrough will no doubt be a powerful rationale to motivate expansion of the industry.
My discussion with the Enbridge professional engineer last night has utterly changed my mindset regarding the safety of the pipeline industry as it lays plans for expansion in the country that I love.
Now, seeing as how Prime Minister Trudeau has approved Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines, I, as a layman and Canadian citizen, feel it is absolutely incumbent upon the PMO to assure Canadians that a company like Enbridge has integrated EFRD technology into its mandate, along with other safety measures.
About the author:
|Michael R. Gaudet has published the 1st book of his memoirs called "Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality" ( a trilogy writing project) and is now planning to release the 2nd book called |
"A Work in Progress: The Life my Brother Saved" in the spring of '17.