How We Prevent Incidents
For Enbridge, our primary duty is to protect the safety of people and the environment while safely delivering the energy we all count on. That means anticipating and addressing potential problems to prevent incidents long before they occur. This approach guides every one of our decisions, actions and interactions as we plan and build new projects, and as we operate and maintain our systems, every day.
Turing brings a new level of quality control and confidence for asset safety and integrity
Enbridge’s gas transmission and midstream infrastructure is a two-way pipeline.
Billions of cubic feet of energy move out.
Billions of lines of data flow back in—thanks to the control and monitoring system (known as SCADA), field integrity activities, and routine operations and maintenance capturing data about the assets.
Inside that torrent of data are the facts that drive our decisions.
At Enbridge, we depend on that data, but we also must determine if the data is dependable.
Going even further, we ask: What opportunities for improvement could we discover hidden in the data and implement to drive even better safety performance, or to preserve and enhance the fitness for service of our pipelines, stations, terminals and systems?
What could we achieve if we developed a tool that took all of the information we gather and looked at it systematically from every angle to create an overall risk picture for the company and then asked the important question: What’s missing from this picture?
Enter Turing, a data-confidence and risk-assessment tool developed in-house at Enbridge within its Technology + Innovation Lab, to help integrity engineers, data scientists and reliability experts answer those big questions and identify those uncertainties.
In a nutshell, Turing harnesses the power of machine learning and cloud computing to answer some simple sounding but complex questions: One, what level of confidence does Enbridge require from any data? Two, does the data warrant that level of confidence? What actions are now needed as a result of the analysis of the trusted data?
“In addition to all that, Turing enables us to accelerate innovation for Gas Transmission,” says Don Thompson, the Director of Systems and Information for Gas Transmission and Midstream (GTM) at Enbridge.
Turing is a tool that uses advanced technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence and which can grow and advance over time, as Enbridge’s practices evolve. Availability of integrated information through Turing enables Enbridge to build additional tools that help the company answer questions like, “How do we get better at managing system outages and maintaining their reliability? What’s the best time to schedule a pipeline inspection tool run?”
Says Thompson: “It makes our life easier to make choices and plan future programs.”
By accurately identifying high and low risk areas along our pipelines, Turing helps reduce the probability of pipeline failure while also reducing the number of unnecessary integrity digs.
Turing processes terabytes of data streaming into Enbridge to identify where our confidence in the data isn’t where it needs to be by assessing variables such as:
- Accuracy: How accurate is the data?
- Age: Is the data relevant and timely?
- Availability: Is the data available?
- Coverage: What part of the system does the data cover?
- Propagation: Are there any data flow issues between systems?
Turing allows our GTM business to enhance safety and reliability performance and improve the efficiency of our operations by sorting its assets based on data confidence and risk levels. The platform provides recommendations for high-impact, high-value actions, which are reviewed, prioritized and executed by a cross-functional team focused on improving data confidence and reducing risk.
“The Turing platform brings rigor into our data confidence calculations by allowing us to sift through the millions and millions of lines of data and zero in on irregularities,” says Thompson.
“Prior to this, you may have been running risk applications on incomplete data—data that was four years old or part of an Excel spreadsheet that didn’t completely upload—and not even have known it.”
The tool reduces the amount of time engineers spend gathering data, freeing them up to focus on generating risk assessment insights to drive actions in the field.
Turing is representative of the in-house products developed in Enbridge’s Technology + Innovation Lab, with locations in Houston and Calgary. In these settings, the team looks at how modern software development methods and advanced tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can be optimized to assess and inspect the fitness of the company’s systems.
“The Turing platform is one of many flagship projects for Enbridge that will play a critical role in digitally transforming GTM. Platforms such as Turing continuously expand Enbridge’s journey in applied technology and applied innovation in the years ahead to improve safety performance,” says Bhushan Ivaturi, Enbridge’s Chief Information Officer.
The state-of-the-art Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center (ESMOC) represents a new, unprecedented level of maritime monitoring capability for a commercial company. Click on the image above to view a full-screen version of this infographic.
The ESMOC features a suite of marine traffic safety systems, including 24/7 monitoring and on-water patrol boats, at Michigan's Straits of Mackinac. Click on the image directly above to watch a video of Enbridge's ESMOC in action.
Protecting the Straits: New operations center watches the water 24/7
The Straits of Mackinac is an important shipping route connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Each year, thousands of boats and large ships travel through the Straits, passing under the Mackinac Bridge and over the dual Line 5 pipelines.
Now, that section of water is even safer thanks to the new Enbridge Straits Maritime Operations Center (ESMOC) that monitors weather and maritime conditions as well as the traffic on the water for possible safety issues, including anchor strikes.
Anchor strikes from passing ships could cause damage to the Line 5 pipeline below. The water near Line 5 is a “no anchor” zone and while the risk from an accidental strike by an anchor is low, ensuring the dual pipelines are safe is the number one priority.
“Michiganders rely on us to provide transportation fuel and propane through Line 5 while protecting the waters,” says Mike Moeller, Director for the Great Lakes region. “This Operations Center is another measure to help ensure the safety and protection of the Straits of Mackinac as we move ahead with the Great Lakes Tunnel Project.”
Monitored 24 hours a day, seven days per week, ESMOC staff coordinate patrol boats on the water, watch incoming weather data, and if necessary, can immediately contact pipeline maintenance teams, Control Center Operations, the Coast Guard or local authorities.
Communication with vessels passing through the Straits ensures anchors are lifted, avoiding the possibility of a strike with the pipeline below. The location of the pipeline is also digitally marked, alerting a ship’s onboard navigation system. If the risk cannot be resolved, the dual pipelines are immediately shut down. Cameras have also been installed at numerous Straits locations to provide additional monitoring of the activity on the water.
“For many of us, it’s a personal charge,” says Bob Lehto, Escanaba-based manager of Enbridge’s Northern Michigan operations. “We live in Northern Michigan communities and we take the protection, safety and reliability of our operations and of these waters very seriously.”
Safe operations to keep energy flowing during pandemic
Enbridge provides an essential service across North America. While many people were able to work from home during the pandemic, thousands of Enbridge workers across North America played vital operational roles that could not and cannot be done remotely.
Throughout 2020 and into 2021, these critical workers labored on the front lines to ensure that even at the height of the pandemic, when so much else in society was shut down, Enbridge continued to safely deliver the energy that the world counts on every day.
By the Numbers
Over the past three years, we spent nearly C$5 billion on programs that help us to maintain the fitness of our systems across our operations in the U.S. and Canada.
Last year we invested more than C$14 million in advanced leak detection systems to boost our ability to identify small leaks early and respond more quickly and effectively.
In 2020, we carried out more than 460 inline inspections of our crude oil and natural gas transmission and distribution systems, using sophisticated tools that travel within our pipelines to assess their health, millimeter by millimeter, from the inside out.
Last year Enbridge completed 1,875 preventive maintenance digs across our liquids and natural gas systems, excavating our pipelines to take a closer look, confirm their health and make any repairs, if required.
23,644 and 906,638
In 2020, Enbridge Gas Inc. conducted leak surveys on nearly 27,000 kilometers (16,777 miles) of distribution mains in Ontario and Quebec and surveyed more than 906,000 services used to carry gas from the mains to customers’ residences.