NEB seeks input on tighter pipeline financial liability

The National Energy Board is looking for feedback on its Draft Pipeline Financial Resource Requirements Guidelines before the regulations come into effect in July.  Trans Mountain photo.

Feedback on pipeline financial resource requirements accepted until March 8

The National Energy Board says it is looking for feedback on Draft Pipeline Financial Requirements Guidelines.

The federal Pipeline Safety Act came into force on June 19, 2016. At that time, the NEB required companies that transport over 250,000 barrels of oil per day to have a $1 billion absolute liability level and to maintain the financial resources to be equal to their absolute liability level.

According to the NEB, absolute liability means that a pipeline company is accountable for all costs and damages up to the its absolute liability limit, regardless of whether there is proof of its fault or negligence.

Should a court determine that the pipeline company’s fault or negligence is responsible for a spill or unintended release, there is no limit to liability for costs and damages related to the spill.

On June 8, 2018, the regulations were passed, setting out absolute liability limits for all other NEB regulated pipeline companies.  The Pipeline Financial Requirements Regulations will come into force on July 11, 2019.

The NEB says that by that date, all NEB-regulated pipeline companies must maintain financial resources equal to their respective absolute liability limits, or a greater amount if determined by the NEB.

The regulations set out specific financial resource types that the NEB may order companies to maintain, and set out the portion of financial resources that must be held in a form that is readily accessible to companies.

Now, the NEB is looking for feedback and comments on the Draft Guidelines by March 8, 2019.  Based on this feedback, the NEB will publish its final guidelines.  The regulator has also set out a schedule for companies to submit financial resource plans detailing how they meet the new financial resource requirements.

The NEB says it has assessed the financial resources of Enbridge Pipelines, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC, Plains Midstream Canada ULC, Express Pipeline Ltd, and TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Limited Partnership.  All these companies have capacity of over 250,000 b/d.  The NEB has determined they are in compliance with the pipeline financial resource requirements in the NEB Act.




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