US embassy cable - 03OTTAWA334

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION IN CANADA'S OIL AND GAS PIPELINE NETWORK

Identifier: 03OTTAWA334
Wikileaks: View 03OTTAWA334 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Ottawa
Created: 2003-02-03 21:55:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: EPET ETRD EINV CA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 OTTAWA 000334 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EB/TPP/BTA EB/ESC/ISC (MCMANUS AND ERVITI), 
WHA/CAN (MASON AND RUNNING), OES/EGC (MIOTKE AND 
DEROSA), D/HS (OPTICAN) AND PM (MARKOFF) 
 
HOMELAND SECURITY FOR EPR (BROWN) 
 
DOE FOR INT'L AND POLICY (A/S BAILEY) AND IE-141 (DEUTSCH) 
 
DOE PASS FERC FOR KELLY AND LEKANG 
 
DOT FOR OFFICE OF PIPELINE SAFETY 
 
COMMERCE FOR 4320/MAC/WH/ON/OIA/BENDER 
 
PARIS FOR IEA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EPET, ETRD, EINV, CA 
SUBJECT:  CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION IN 
       CANADA'S OIL AND GAS PIPELINE NETWORK 
 
SUMMARY/INTRODUCTION 
-------------------- 
 
1. (U) This message is sensitive, but unclassified.  Please 
handle accordingly. 
 
2. (U) This message was prepared with assistance from 
Amconsul Calgary. 
 
3. (U) Critical infrastructure protection is among the areas 
listed for bilateral action in the Ridge-Manley Smart Border 
plan.  Canada is the United States' largest foreign supplier 
of energy, supplying over 15 percent of U.S. natural gas 
consumption and about 10 percent of U.S. consumption of oil 
and oil products.  After two decades of strong expansion, 
Canada's energy pipeline industry expects to see on the 
order of US$6 billion in additional new facilities 
constructed in the coming decade. 
 
4. (U) This industry appears very well prepared to respond 
to accidents/attacks at its facilities.  Time frames for 
pipeline firms' "patch and repair" operations are from a few 
hours to a few days.  The built-in redundancy of pipeline 
systems (multiple pipes, storage facilities, interconnects, 
back-up compressors) mean that actual disruptions of supply 
(at least beyond the local level or for short periods) are 
considered unlikely. 
 
5. (SBU) While the incidence of accidental events has been 
reduced to a very low level, pipeline industry security 
experts are less confident of their ability to anticipate or 
prevent deliberate attacks.  It is in this area that they 
are most receptive to government support - and most 
interested in clear, timely information flow.  Given their 
degree of professional competence and accountability, and 
since they provide information "up" to government whenever 
asked, they want to share more fully in the flow of 
information "down" from federal level security agencies. 
One provincial government security official said it has been 
a "major achievement" to get the RCMP (federal police) to 
allow even the unclassified versions of threat assessments 
to be distributed to selected private sector players.  END 
SUMMARY 
 
INDUSTRY STRUCTURE 
------------------ 
 
6. (U) Most of Canada's oil and gas pipeline network 
originates in the province of Alberta (with fingers into 
British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Northwest 
Territories) and transports products southward and/or 
eastward to the United States and central/eastern Canada. 
The industry is collectively represented by the Canadian 
Energy Pipeline Association (cepa.com), based in Calgary. 
Mission economic staff interviewed industry and government 
representatives on critical infrastructure protection issues 
in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton during January 2003. 
 
7. (U) The following two firms respectively claim to operate 
the world's longest natural gas and oil pipeline systems. 
 
TRANSCANADA PIPELINES LIMITED (transcanada.com) operates the 
largest portion of the natural gas system.  From southern 
Alberta it exports gas to the Pacific Gas Transmission 
Company, the Montana Power Company, and the Alliance 
Pipeline (which runs southeast through Iowa and Illinois). 
Its "Canadian mainline" (actually a group of parallel lines) 
carries gas eastward across Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the 
Winnipeg area, where the line splits into a U.S. portion 
(continuing across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan) and a 
Canadian portion (continuing across Ontario to Montreal, 
Toronto and other urban areas). 
 
ENBRIDGE PIPELINES INC. (enbridge.com) operates key oil and 
oil products pipelines.  Its main crude oil line runs from 
Edmonton (mid-Alberta) southeastward to Wisconsin, where the 
line divides to pass both north and south of Lake Michigan. 
This system serves key oil storage and 
refinery/petrochemicals complexes in Edmonton, Sarnia 
(Ontario) and Montreal (Quebec) as well as in the United 
States. 
 
PAST INCIDENTS WERE ACCIDENTAL 
------------------------------ 
 
8. (U) Emergency planning necessarily makes heavy use of the 
analysis of past incidents.  However, in Canada's pipeline 
industry, past incidents have been due to material failures 
- notably stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in pipe walls and 
disintegration of blades in compressor turbines.  The 
frequency of these problems has been systematically reduced 
through innovation, inspection and maintenance but they 
still occur, and there are older facilities in use which may 
be at higher risk.  On the positive side, these older 
facilities represent part of the built-in redundancy which 
the system uses to continue service when a failure occurs. 
 
PIPELINE FIRMS LEAD ON-THE-GROUND RESPONSE 
------------------------------------------ 
 
9. (SBU) Most pipeline facilities are buried, and the force 
of an explosion/rupture tends to go upward, so damage seldom 
extends to neighboring pipes.  Automatic "block valves" 
immediately shut off flow through the ruptured segment(s). 
Neighboring facilities are also shut off until they can be 
inspected (operating them at very low pressure is also an 
option). 
 
10. (SBU) Pipeline firms say they maintain close 
relationships with landowners, municipalities, and volunteer 
fire departments along their routes in order to enhance both 
monitoring of the pipeline, and emergency response.  Company 
employees help to train local firefighters, and these two 
groups in combination are the "first responders" to pipeline 
emergencies. 
 
11. (SBU) Typical time to patch a pipeline rupture is one to 
two days and typical time for restoration of full service is 
three to four days.  Due to system redundancy and storage, 
service to end users is unlikely to be affected in the 
meanwhile.  If necessary, a "bypass" around a damaged 
segment can be built in about four days.  If a compressor is 
affected, a temporary replacement can be moved and installed 
in a day or two, though permanent replacement takes much 
longer -- one to two years -- due to long delivery times 
from the manufacturers (GE and Rolls-Royce). 
 
PREVENTION/MITIGATION 
--------------------- 
 
12. (SBU) While a few politically motivated attacks on oil 
and gas facilities have occurred, neither of the major 
pipeline systems has significant experience of being 
deliberately attacked.  Many of their monitoring activities 
- such as "flying the line" by helicopter at low altitude 
and "sniffing" for leaks - are oriented toward accidental 
events.  With facilities crossing thousands of miles in very 
remote areas, corporate security experts admit that there is 
little they can do to protect all this pipe from deliberate 
sabotage.  Obvious key points (such as compressors, storage 
facilities, and refineries where an attack could be more 
disruptive) fortunately are exceptions which can be 
protected to some degree by conventional security methods. 
 
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ROLE:  "SECURITY TEMPLATES" 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
13. (U) The Alberta provincial government requires each of 
311 municipalities to identify a full-time employee as 
Director of Disaster Services.  This employee is empowered 
to declare a state of local emergency, can conscript local 
resources and labor, and is partially protected from 
litigation arising from actions taken during a state of 
emergency. 
 
14. (SBU) Alberta's "Critical Infrastructure Protection 
Plan" is based in part on methods developed by the American 
Petroleum Institute, and has recently been applied to ten 
key industries, beginning with oil.  Industry and government 
worked together to classify facilities by level of 
"criticality."  Information such as the list of participants 
in this process and the list of facilities determined 
"critical" is not made public.  Provincial Disaster Services 
staff visit each of these facilities, collect contact 
information, and make recommendations based on "security 
templates." 
 
15. (SBU) Levels of "alert" (none, low, medium, high, 
imminent) are also determined from time to time, based on 
threat assessments received from federal agencies.  The 
"security template" applied to each facility depends on that 
facility's combination of criticality and threat level, and 
is based on "best practices."  Provincial government 
officials say that their recommendations represent "minimum 
expectations" and that operators are driven by insurance 
concerns to meet or exceed these standards. 
 
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ROLE:  THREAT ASSESSMENTS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
16. (SBU) Observers and security officials unanimously agree 
that the GOC's two-year-old Office of Critical 
Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness 
(OCIPEP) is not as far advanced as Alberta Disaster Services 
in its state of readiness, nor in its close ties to 
industry.  OCIPEP relies on line departments such as Natural 
Resources Canada (NRCan) to liaise with industry.  Mission 
will examine OCIPEP's broader role and functions in coming 
months. 
 
17. (SBU) From the perspective of industry and 
local/provincial security officials, the GOC's crucial role 
is as the source (or at least the conduit) for intelligence 
information on which "declarations of alert" must be based. 
Apart from OCIPEP, key agencies here are the Canadian 
Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian 
Mounted Police (RCMP - Canada's federal police service). 
Our contacts expressed various uncertainties and 
dissatisfactions surrounding such intelligence.  For 
example: 
 
-- What intelligence do RCMP and CSIS want from the private 
sector and the public?  One industry leader complained, "We 
give the police lots of information and they tell us 
nothing."  Potential suppliers of information need to know 
whether or not what they provided in the past was considered 
useful.  (COMMENT:  While our contacts were careful not to 
criticize the GOC, we sensed that they would like to be 
reassured about the effectiveness of federal agencies, i.e. 
whether information reaches analysts and is duly 
incorporated into threat assessments, and whether different 
parts of the GOC are sharing information with each other. 
END COMMENT). 
 
-- How much detail will be disseminated?  Currently, RCMP 
and CSIS prepare both classified and unclassified versions 
of threat assessments; only the latter is shared with 
provincial governments and industry representatives.  Also, 
in their support of intelligence gathering, firms provide 
RCMP and CSIS with commercially sensitive information from 
time to time, and they do not want such information re- 
appearing in their competitors' offices. 
 
-- How often will threat assessments be issued?  This is 
currently undetermined.  Our contacts opined that they 
should be issued regularly, even if unchanged, in order to 
remind users of their existence. 
 
-- How widely will threat assessments be disseminated?  A 
provincial government security official (who is a former 
RCMP officer) said it was a "major achievement" to persuade 
the RCMP to allow even unclassified versions of threat 
assessments to be shared with industry security officials 
(rather than only government agencies). 
 
-- Who bears responsibility for formally declaring states of 
alert?  This raises real issues of legal liability. 
According to our contacts in the Alberta government, the 
Solicitor General of Alberta (the senior provincial law 
enforcement officer) currently holds this responsibility 
(despite having limited access to intelligence information) 
and no office in the GOC will make a commitment to this 
function. 
 
RELATIONSHIPS WITH USG 
---------------------- 
 
18. (SBU) Among our contacts, mentions of dealings with the 
USG on safety/security matters were strongly positive.  The 
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and 
Department of Transportation (DOT) investigate pipeline 
accidents which occur within the U.S., where both Enbridge 
and TransCanada have many facilities.  In mid-2002 a rupture 
in Minnesota led to NTSB investigators paying an extended 
visit to Enbridge corporate headquarters in Edmonton.  The 
report is still pending, but according to Enbridge the firm 
was commended for their quick response to the incident. 
 
19. (SBU) Industry security officials say they receive 
regular notices from the FBI's National Infrastructure 
Protection Center.  One industry association leader told us 
his organization has a "very valuable relationship with the 
FBI" and that "we get better information from the FBI than 
from the RCMP."  Our contacts also said they receive useful 
security-related information from the U.S. Department of 
Energy's Office of Energy Assurance and also from the 
American Petroleum Institute. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
20. (SBU) The federal Government of Canada's Office of 
Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency 
Preparedness (OCIPEP) is relatively new and is still 
establishing itself in many areas of its mandate.  While 
Mission staff are developing our relationship with and 
understanding of OCIPEP, we see great value in continuing to 
foster close cooperation with Provincial government 
authorities and private sector entities, such as the major 
pipeline and energy firms, who are now and will likely 
remain the first responders in an emergency. 
 
CELLUCCI 

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