PO BLOG

A Window into Pipeline Operation

Published in May, 2019

Enbridge’s simplified pipeline model takes engagement to the next level

BY CAEPLA STAFF

 

When it comes to understanding stakeholder interest in pipelines, collaboration is critical. In Enbridge’s view, the best way to understand stakeholder opinions, concerns or questions about a project or pipeline operation is to involve them in a genuine and meaningful way.

“We’re supportive of a two-way dialogue, strongly seeking feedback from stakeholders, especially landowners, to determine the mutual benefit,” says Joanne Bradbury, community engagement strategist with Enbridge. “It’s not throwing information out at people, it’s about connecting and getting to the heart of what matters most to them.”

That’s where Peter Hansen, who is also a community engagement strategist with Enbridge, comes in. A certified journeyman mechanic with a wealth of experience in marine mechanics, a master’s of adult education degree and 25 years at Enbridge, Hansen designed and built a working model of a pipeline system that gives stakeholders, such as landowners and municipal leaders, a window into pipeline operations.

“I started tracking down equipment and fabricating things together in my laundry room,” says Hansen. “There was a lot of trial and error, but I managed to get enough pieces put together to build the first model. When we unveiled it in 2015, people said Enbridge was the first company to help them understand how a liquid pipeline system actually works.”

“We make assumptions that everyone knows what the system is and how it works, and they don’t,” explains Bradbury. “We’ve used the model many times, including at the Enbridge-CAEPLA workshops and it’s always a hit. It’s an advanced form of engagement—adding an interactive element that’s so much more meaningful.”

Discussion and interaction around the pipeline learning tool provides Enbridge a way to learn more about its stakeholders as well. The experience creates an environment where people are comfortable enough to ask questions. It also opens the door for them to learn about pipeline safety and integrity and what it takes to safely transport petroleum products every day.

“We need people to ask these questions so we can understand their concerns,” Bradbury explains. “That’s the whole point of engagement, understanding what’s important to the stakeholder.”

The working pipeline model has grown from that first laundry-room prototype to include two terminals, a pump station, pipelines, flow meters and pig (Pipeline Inspection Gauge) traps—it’s been so successful in engaging stakeholders the past few years that Hansen has now assembled several more for use in other Enbridge regions in Canada and the U.S.

“Pipelines are a very public conversation today,” Bradbury concludes. “So any opportunity for us to advance understanding and balance that discussion is important, no matter the audience. Not just for Enbridge, but for anyone who relies on energy to fuel their quality of life.”

Published in PIPELINE OBSERVER SPRING 2019