December 2012: An Updated Message to Our Communities
Portland Pipe Line Corporation and Montreal Pipe Line Limited pride themselves on being good neighbors, and we have always communicated openly and honestly with the public and our pipeline stakeholders. In addition to our diligent efforts in being good neighbors, we are especially proud that our efforts in safety and environmental performance have been recognized in the past year with a U.S. Distinguished Safety and Environmental Award from the American Petroleum Institute (API), the William M. Benkert Award from the U.S. Coast Guard for our outstanding marine environmental protection programs and the Canadian Energy Pipelines Association (CEPA) Occupational Health and Safety Award.
You may have seen and read articles recently published concerning allegations that Portland Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) is planning to reverse the flow in our pipeline system to transport Western Canadian crude (also referred to as oil sands products) through our system. As we reported in our February 2012 Current Events document and affirm now, we have no current project to do that, however, we continue to seek all opportunities to maximize the use of our excellent assets. We would like to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns that continue to be raised in the media and in public forums.
First, pipeline transportation is the safest, most reliable, economical and environmentally friendly way to transport crude oil and petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel and heating oil, and other energy liquids in North America. About two-thirds of all crude oil and refined products in the United States are transported in pipeline systems like ours. More than 180,000 miles of pipelines are currently installed in North America.
PMPL owns and operates two pipelines. Our 18" pipeline was built in 1950 and the 24" pipeline was built in 1965. We operate our pipelines in strict compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and utilize sound operating practices that are well within the safe design parameters of these pipelines. PMPL systems are monitored with a 24 hour, 7 days a week surveillance by trained and qualified Controllers to help ensure the integrity of the systems. We employ protective measures, such as coating and corrosion protection systems, and follow an extensive preventative maintenance program. We perform proactive and proper inspection and maintenance procedures constantly and repeatedly and follow industry best practices to ensure the highest level of integrity and safety.
All of these efforts, along with continuously improving inspection and maintenance technologies, mean that we can safely and securely operate our pipelines indefinitely, just as we have done for the past seven decades. We are proud of our record and will continue to operate our pipelines with the highest level of integrity in terms of our customers, pipeline neighbors and the environment.
While we do not have an active project to reverse the flow in either of our pipelines, if there is a demand for doing so in the future, we will consider it. However, please be assured that if we ever embark on a major project to change the current use or flow direction of our pipeline system, we will engage in open discussions with our pipeline neighbors, the public and the appropriate regulatory bodies to explain our plans and, where required, to obtain necessary approvals well in advance.
It also is worth noting that Western Canadian crude derived from oil sands is similar in characteristics to other crude oils transported in North America and is not more corrosive or challenging to transport. Pipeline operating pressures are regulated by the federal agencies in the U.S. and Canada and the temperature of crude moving through pipelines, regardless of the origin of the crude, flows well within acceptable operating parameters for the design of the equipment and pipelines. If you are interested in learning more about the characteristics of moving Western Canadian crude, please go to the CEPA and AOPL websites listed in the Downloads & Links section of the opening page of our website.
The natural gas and crude oil industry will remain an important provider of energy for many years to come, meeting as much as 60% of global energy demand by the year 2030. There is a continuing demand for crude oil pipelines to supply refineries from secure sources, and we are excited about our role at PMPL to continue to be a safe and reliable pipeline system delivering products to our customers.
February 2012: A message to our communities
In response to inquiries we received in recent weeks, we want to let our communities know that Portland Pipe Line Corporation and Montreal Pipe Line Limited (PMPL) do not currently have an active project associated with moving Western Canadian crudes in an easterly flow direction through our pipelines.
We are aware of the genuine interest in the petroleum industry and the communities served to explore all opportunities to provide future critically important energy resources and transportation needs to North America. PMPL desires to continue well into the future providing for the energy transportation needs of our communities and neighbors; therefore, we will continue to consider potential projects that align with the mission of our company.
PMPL has provided safe, environmentally responsible, reliable, and efficient pipeline transportation services to our customers and our communities since 1941. We work hard to operate our pipelines safely, reliably and with concern for the environment while transporting thousands of barrels per day of crude oil through our pipeline systems, which operate between South Portland, Maine and Montreal, Quebec.
We are committed to continuing to provide these services in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations with facilities that are designed, operated and maintained to high standards. We utilize best practice procedures, processes, and systems that aid us in managing safety, health, and environmental risks to ensure the safety of our employees, our neighbors, and the environment.
PMPL employees live, work, and raise their families in communities along the pipeline system volunteering their time in schools and with local projects that strengthen and promote community interests. We are very proud of our excellent employees who provide the safe and environmentally responsible services to our customers and our communities.
In addition to providing excellent jobs for our employees, contractors, and service providers, all of whom contribute to the necessary tax and economic base of our communities, PMPL takes great pride in contributing to charitable and non-profit organizations that also focus on strengthening our communities and the environment. We work closely with organizations such as Dig Safe, the United Way, Friends of Casco Bay, and Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
We understand the genuine interest in projects associated with meeting the transportation and energy needs of North America. It is our commitment to our communities to be available for discussions and questions that might arise now or in the future should opportunities for new projects evolve.