Canada's Pipeline System Has An Enviable Safety Record

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Natural Resources Canada (“NRC”) estimates there are 100,000 Km of large-diameter oil and gas transmission lines in Canada, about 73,000 Km of which are federally regulated by the National Energy Board (“NEB”). Canada’s pipeline system has an enviable safety record. The NRC reports that between 2009 and 2013, 99.999% of the crude oil and petroleum products carried by NRC regulated pipelines were delivered safely and between 2011 and 2013, 100% of products released by these pipelines were recovered safely. Canada depends heavily on these pipelines to move oil and gas to ports, refineries, businesses, and homes across the country. Their safe operation is central to the Canadian way of life. Electronic attacks against pipelines around…show more content…
Natural gas pipelines in British Columbia were bombed six times between October 2008 and July 2009 by unknown perpetrators in acts classified by authorities as environmentally motivated “domestic terrorism.” As alarming as these events are, physical attacks on pipelines are far easier to predict, prevent, and resolve than cyber-attacks.

Sophisticated hackers have expanded their threat matrix to include cyber-attacks on the computer systems used to operate the world’s pipelines. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (“SCADA”) systems are increasingly subject to targeted attacks. Cyber-attacks can be perpetrated over the Internet from anywhere in the world and are capable of disrupting safe pipeline operation causing spills, explosions, or fires. The 2008 explosion on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in Turkey was reportedly caused by a cyber-attack.

In 2012, the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team of the US Department of Homeland Security identified a series of cyber-attacks on American natural gas pipelines that had continued for more than a year. The pipeline companies reported targeted phishing attempts and intrusions into multiple natural gas pipelines “positively identified ... as related to a single campaign.” In 2011, computer security company McAfee reported “coordinated covert and targeted” cyber-attacks originating in China, against multiple energy companies. The attacks began in 2009 employing
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