39. How do you know that CO2 pipelines are safe?

Pipelines, whether carrying CO2, oil, natural gas (methane) or other compounds, are governed by regulations that have been established by governments. Pipeline operators are required to make their operations adhere to these regulations, and this is done increasingly through automated computer systems that can measure the pressures within pipelines, identify locations of pressure loss, and administer shut-down operations with speed and efficiency.

In the WMP, the Dakota Gasification Company (operators of the large pipeline that carries CO2 to Canada from the United States) and both the Weyburn and Midale oilfield operators (Cenovus Energy and Apache Canada) employ computer monitored systems on their CO2 pipelines, which help monitor pressure, flow rates and volumes. This ensures that leaks, should they occur, can be quickly found and fixed.

Figure 28. Staff at Cenovus's Weyburn oilfield monitor CO2 pipelines using computers with advanced pressure and temperature technologies. (Photograph courtesy of Cenovus Energy)