A few ones and zeros traversing their way over an internet network might go unaccounted for from time to time. Sure, data loss may be inconvenient, but at least there’s an opportunity to recover.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case when it comes to transporting resources via a physical pipeline. Any issues can have a tremendous impact on individuals, communities, the environment, among others. It’s why Alberta Energy Regulator has made it a point to tap into the power of data to help make energy transportation safer.
Stephanie Leung, Industry Performance Lead, and Connie Heatherington, Pipeline Technical Advisor, co-lead the Alberta Energy Regulator’s reporting program. Together, their teams publish a variety of reports to promote transparency and data accessibility to their stakeholders.
Their program focuses on “getting business on board with the vision,” according to Leung. Part of this included developing standardized terms and definitions while also implementing validation processes to “ensure companies the regulator reports on entered incident records correctly,” she adds.
These data contribute to dashboards which are available on the regulator’s website. These dashboards serve as a valuable tool in helping users see a breakdown of items, to gain a better understanding of context.
For example, a 2020 dashboard report shows that 53 per cent of the pipeline length in excess of 5,000 kilometres are operated by 20 out of 960 companies licensed. This information can help determine “which companies may require additional focus based on the overall risk they may represent,” Heatherington notes.
Users have the ability drill down into these data based on type to gain a better understanding of reported incidents. A pie chart visualization is used to show the percentage of leaks, releases, hits, ruptures, and installation leaks.
“This is an important visualization because although one company clearly has the most pipeline inventory, its incident ratio is lower than the industry average, ” according to Heatherington. “This helps us identify the companies that may require more education or more inspections to ensure compliance and help improve their performance.”
The team has also produced a user-friendly workbook which is available for stakeholder companies to group these data by peer group — such as total pipeline length, or company production per day. This function plays a key role in enabling stakeholders to see how they are performing in comparison to others.
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