It’s an inescapable fact: Pipelines are vital infrastructure.
Whether it’s the TransMountain Expansion project, or Enbridge’s Line 3 or Line 5, or the Coastal Gas Link, pipelines deliver the product that allows society to power its transportation grid, create electricity, provide heating and cooling and to manufacture chemicals, pharmaceuticals and many other goods.
And yet, protesters who oppose Canadian pipelines will have no impact on global oil production and can only fail in their attempt to keep even one single barrel of oil in the ground, worldwide. The reason is simple.
Petrochemicals are the foundation of thousands of products we enjoy in Canada and around the world. Analysts expect this component of global oil consumption will be the largest source of growth in energy demand through to 2040.
In other words, the world demands more oil. And blocking Canadian product from the world market would only force production to another region where environmental, health, safety and human rights requirements are likely far less rigorous than those in Canada.
As an alternative to blocking Canadian energy, we should maximize the value of our resources and demand Canada be a global supplier of choice, rather than abandon the global supply pool and leave it to another jurisdiction.
The women and men who make up our industry work under labour policies that are the envy of competitor countries. They work in a sector that’s among the largest contributors to the revenues of Canada’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and of every level of government.
And they’re constantly evolving. We already have one of the world’s only net-negative emitting oil companies and recently five firms that control 90 per cent of oilsands production formed Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero, and pledged to be net-zero energy companies by 2050.
If our economy or that of any modern country is to flourish in a healthy, safe and principled way, then that progress depends on pipelines, operated to the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. Without well-managed pipelines, communities are left without the safest and most reliable method of energy delivery, potentially impacting all facets of day-to-day life.
There’s no question pipelines have outpaced current trends in safety and monitoring technologies and are the acknowledged favourite in terms of safe energy transmission over long distances of land. A pipeline that was built in previous decades is monitored continually. Improvements are made as required. It’s part of normal operating procedures.
Few people question building or maintaining roads and bridges, or fixing a runway or rail-line in order to extend the safety and service of any of these assets. Let’s continue to build and maintain safe, carefully-monitored, vital Canadian pipelines.
Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder / spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer-initiated group that supports Canadian natural resources sector and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.