Both Media and social movements have focused their attention on the large, federally regulated, inter-provincial pipelines including the Keystone XL, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Trans Canada's Energy East pipeline and Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline replacement. In Saskatchewan, a vast network of smaller pipelines goes virtually unnoticed. Here is some important information about provincial pipelines:
- According to Natural Resources Canada there are over 102,400 km of provincially regulated pipelines in Saskatchewan.
- Unlike the federally regulated lines, provincially regulated pipelines do not receive environmental impact assessments or community input and they are subject to very little inspection and monitoring.
- There are over 80,000 km of flowlines (smaller pipelines connecting a single well to an oil battery or facility) in Saskatchewan.
- Until 2016, flowlines did not need to be licensed. The province is now working on retroactively licensing flowlines.
- In 2012, the provincial auditor noted (on page 70) that the Province has no "records of where the flowlines are located in the province or if pipeline operators have designed, constructed and are operating them according to the law".
- During the oil boom 3,000 - 4,0000 new flowlines were being constructed each year in Saskatchewan.
The Ministry of Economy keeps a spreadsheet of all licensed pipelines in the province at this link. Here are some important points from the July, 2017 data.
- There were 3,070 licensed pipelines in SK in July of 2017
- 2,326 of these lines were operating
- 795 were carrying crude oil or a crude oil blend
- 1,804 were carrying natural gas
- 207 were carrying sour gas
- 295 lines had been abandoned (permanently deactivated)
- 195 lines had been discontinued, but not abandoned
- 185 had been approved
- 32 were under construction
- 18 had been cancelled
The main operators were Transgas, TEML, Plains Midstream, Crescent Point, Husky Energy, and Inter Pipeline Ltd.
On top of the provincially regulated network of lines that takes oil from wells to points of local processing, many federally regulated lines also cross Saskatchewan.
These lines, currently under construction or approval, will cross parts of Saskatchewan:
- Enbridge's Line 3
- Trans Canada's Energy East
- Keystone XL