It is very important that pipelines are constructed, tested and meet all government regulations.
Typically pipelines are constructed of steel. The construction of steel pipelines requires sections of piping being welded together and then undergoing x-rays to detect any possible flaws. Once it has been fully inspected, it is ready to be wrapped in a protective coating then buried. The pipeline will then be pressure tested and inspected prior to use.
Occasionally, pipelines that are used to transport natural gas may be constructed of plastic and aluminum. Plastic pipelines are a quicker method of laying pipelines as the pipe comes on a large spool and can be unreeled by being pulled by a large tractor. The deepest buried pipelines are like the ones at the interprovincial crossing at the Strait of Mackinac. The depths of these buried pipelines are in excess of 70 metres. However, the usual depth for large pipelines is 1.5 meters and a little bit less for smaller pipes.
Due to Canada’s ability to construct winter pipelines, Canadian companies have assisted Russia, Southeast Asia and China by designing winter systems for them. Canada has developed trenching machines for muskeg and permafrost making them a world leader in the construction of winter pipelines.
The National Energy Board Regulations
The National Energy Board is an authoritative independent agency that has control over pipeline regulations which cross international or provincial borders. They also have the authority to regulate the exportation of natural gas and crude oil. The NEB enforces regulation engineering and safety practices as well as petroleum reserve estimates, costs, environmental assessments for proposed energy projects and environmental factors. Sometimes, though rarely, a particular project may require an appointed commission to examine the project. This happened in the 1970s when Indigenous land claims and environmentalists affected the review process for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.