ARCHIVED - DRAFT Amendments to the Guidance Notes and Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects Under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations

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Draft Amendments to the Guidance Notes and Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects Under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations [PDF 353 KB]

Files Ad-GA-RG-OPR 01
Ad-GA-RG-PPR 01
10 January 2012

To: All Companies under the National Energy Board’s Jurisdiction, and Other Interested People

DRAFT Amendments to the Guidance Notes and
Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects Under the
Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999
and
National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations

Background

Amendments to the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR) and the National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations (PPR) to allow for decommissioning came into force in 2008. These amendments require a decommissioning application to be filed with the Board for approval to permanently cease operation of any part of a pipeline or facility where the cessation does not result in the discontinuance of service to the end point.

In 2008, the Board also issued the Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects under the OPR and PPR (Exemption Order). The Exemption Order authorizes decommissioning without filing an application when the proposed decommissioning is a direct result of work carried out under the Board’s section 58 Streamlining Order or Operations and Maintenance Requirements and Guidance Notes.

Board Action

The Board has determined that additional clarification to the Guidance Notes and Exemption Order for decommissioning projects under the OPR and PPR is required.

Through this notice, the Board is proposing to:

  • issue the attached revised Guidance Notes for the Decommissioning Provisions under the OPR and PPR;
  • revoke Exemption Order XG-XO-100-2008 and its Schedule A; and
  • issue Exemption Order XG-XO-XXX-2012 with its Schedule A.

Comment Period

The Board invites all regulated companies and interested parties to provide comments on the proposed amendments by 15 February 2012.

Once comments are received, reviewed and considered, the Board will issue revised Guidance Notes and Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects Under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations.

You can also find this letter and attachments on the Board’s website:  Home > Acts and Regulations > Rules, Regulations, Guidelines, Guidance Notes and Memoranda of Guidance pursuant to the National Energy Board Act > Onshore Pipelines.

Comments may be provided electronically or in hard copy by mail or by fax with the heading: Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects and addressed to:

L. George,
Acting Secretary
National Energy Board
444 Seventh Avenue SW
Calgary, AB  T2P 0X8
Facsimile 403-292-5503

Contact Information

If you have any questions or require further information on this matter, please contact Margaret Barber at 403-299-3652 (margaret.barber@neb-one.gc.ca) or by calling 1-800-899-1265.

Yours truly,

L. George,
Acting Secretary of the Board

Attachment

Draft Amended Guidance Notes for the
Decommissioning Provisions under the
Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR)

Format Table

Definitions[1]

“abandon” means to permanently cease operation such that the cessation results in the discontinuance of service.

“decommission” means to permanently cease operation such that the cessation does not result in the discontinuance of service.

“operate” includes repair, maintain, deactivate, reactivate and decommission.

Decommissioning Provisions

45.1 (1) If a company proposes to decommission a pipeline or part of one, the company shall submit an application for the decommissioning to the Board.

(2) The company shall include in the application the reasons, and the procedures that are to be used, for the decommissioning.

OBJECTIVE (s. 45.1): The decommissioning of a pipeline, or part of a pipeline, is carried out in a safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible manner that respects the rights of those affected.

The Board conducts an environmental and socioeconomic assessment for each decommissioning application in accordance with its public interest mandate. The Board may hold a public hearing if it determines that one is required. A decommissioning application does not trigger the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Companies should consult the guidance material under Guide B of the NEB’s Filing Manual and OPR s.50 to obtain information on what to include in an application to decommission.[2]

Draft Amended Guidance Notes for the
Decommissioning Provisions under the
National Energy Board
Processing Plant Regulations
(PPR)

Format Table

Definitions[3]

“abandon” means to permanently cease operation such that the cessation results in the discontinuance of service.

“decommission” means to permanently cease operation such that the cessation does not result in the discontinuance of service.

 “operate” includes repair, maintain, deactivate, reactivate and decommission.

Decommissioning Provisions

43.1 (1) If a company proposes to decommission a processing plant or part of one, the company shall submit an application for the decommissioning to the Board.

(2) The company shall include in the application the reasons, and the procedures that are to be used, for the decommissioning.

OBJECTIVE (s. 43.1): The decommissioning of a processing plant, or part of one, is carried out in a safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible manner that respects the rights of those affected.

The Board conducts an environmental and socioeconomic assessment for each decommissioning application in accordance with its public interest mandate. The Board may hold a public hearing if it determines that one is required. A decommissioning application does not trigger the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Companies should consult the guidance material under Guide B of the NEB’s Filing Manual and OPR s.50 to obtain information on what to include in an application to decommission.[4]

Draft Revised Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations
Exemption Order XG-XO-XXX-2012

FormatTable

IN THE MATTER OF the National Energy Board Act and the regulations made thereunder; and

IN THE MATTER OF section 45.1 of the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and section 43.1 of the National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations; and

IN THE MATTER OF a National Energy Board initiative regarding exemptions in respect of the decommissioning of specified pipeline facilities under its jurisdiction pursuant to section 18 and subsection 48(2.1) of the National Energy Board Act.

BEFORE the Board on XX Month 2012.

WHEREAS section 45.1 of the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and section 43.1 of the National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations require an application for the decommissioning of a pipeline or processing plant (or part of either);

AND WHEREAS the Board is satisfied that the facilities that can be decommissioned according to the criteria set out in Schedule A of this Order (the Exempted Facilities) are common for oil and gas pipelines or processing plants;

AND WHEREAS the Exempted Facilities are being decommissioned as a direct result of work carried out under either the Operations and Maintenance Requirements and Guidance Notes or the section 58 Streamlining Order;

AND WHEREAS the Exempted Facilities are not related to commodity pipelines or to pipelines transporting sulphur or sulphur compounds for sale or disposal beyond the property limits of a gas plant;

AND WHEREAS the Exempted Facilities decommissioned according to the criteria set out in Schedule A are not subject to an environmental assessment pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;

AND WHEREAS the Board has considered environmental matters related to decommissioning the Exempted Facilities pursuant to Part III of the National Energy Board Act and is satisfied that there will likely be no adverse environmental effects;

AND WHEREAS the decommissioning of the Exempted Facilities are conducted in accordance with applicable regulations made pursuant to the National Energy Board Act;

AND WHEREAS the Board is satisfied that decommissioning the Exempted Facilities would not likely affect the interests of persons other than those to which the respective order or certificate was issued;

AND WHEREAS the Board considers it to be in the public interest to grant an exemption order in respect of the Exempted Facilities,

IT IS ORDERED that Exemption Order XG-XO-100-2008 is hereby revoked;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED pursuant to section 18 and subsection 48(2.1) of the National Energy Board Act that the facilities meeting the criteria set out in Schedule A, which is attached to and forming part of this Order, are exempt from the requirement of filing an application for decommissioning, upon the following conditions:

  1. Unless the Board otherwise directs, pipeline companies and persons under the Board’s jurisdiction shall, for those projects satisfying the criteria set out in Schedule A:
    1. Advise the Board in writing 10 business days prior to the decommissioning of any planned decommissioning on the eligible projects list on Schedule A for which the anticipated expenditure is greater than $1,000,000. Such reports must include a statement describing the decommissioning, including locations(s), the estimated cost, a justification of how the work fits within the exemption order, and a record of the consultation undertaken;
    2. Report annually, on or before 31 March of each year, all decommissioning work commenced pursuant to this Order, as well as the total number and total cost of the listed decommissioning activities; and
    3. Report immediately, in writing, to the Board on any air, soil or surface/ground water contaminants, or any hazardous wastes, as defined in the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, that are found during activities related to the decommissioning of the facilities, and provide a detailed description of the proposed containment, handling and/or disposal methods.
  2. Unless the Board otherwise directs, this Order shall expire in respect of the decommissioning of any specific facilities on 31 December in the year following the date on which the work related to the decommissioning has commenced.

NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD

L. George
Acting Secretary of the Board

Draft Revised Exemption Order
for Decommissioning Projects under the
Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and
National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations

Exemption Order XG-XO-XXX-2012

Guidance for Schedule A

Process for Identifying Projects Subject to Exemption Order XG-XO-XXX-2012

Preface

Schedule A is to be used to determine whether the decommissioning of a facility is subject to Exemption Order XG-XO-XXX-2012 (the Order), in which case, an application to the Board is not required.

Copies of Schedule A are not required to be physically completed, filed, or retained for those decommissioning activities undertaken pursuant to the Order. However, companies and persons may be required, either upon request of the Board or during a Board audit, to demonstrate that projects undertaken pursuant to the Order were properly subject to this Order.

In determining whether a decommissioning activity is subject to the Order, companies must ensure that the project is within the list of eligible projects listed in Schedule A.

It is important to note the following:

  • The Order only applies to the decommissioning of an existing oil or gas pipeline or processing plant as a direct result of work carried out under either the Operations and Maintenance Requirements and Guidance Notes or section 58 Streamlining Order;
  • The Order does not apply to commodity pipelines or those pipelines transporting sulphur or sulphur compounds beyond the property limits of a gas plant for sale or disposal; and
  • Projects which are captured under the Order may also be subject to other regulatory requirements which are not within the purview of the Board and it is incumbent upon the applicant to be aware of and comply with these requirements.

Schedule A:

Criteria for Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects Under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 and National Energy Board Processing Plan Regulations

Criteria for Exemption Order for Decommissioning Projects

Eligible Projects - Is the decommissioning a direct result of work carried out under one of the following?

1. The NEB’s Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines Regulated Under the National Energy Board Act: Requirements and Guidance Notes; OR

2. The NEB’s section 58 Streamlining Order.

Left Arrow
No
An application under the OPRs s.45.1 or PPRs s.43.1 is required.

Down ArrowYes

Work may proceed under the Decommissioning Exemption Order

Endnotes

[1] In these definitions, “service” is defined as the ability of a pipeline, as a whole, to transport hydrocarbons to an end point. For clarification, when a company’s actions result in one line in a series of looped lines (collectively the pipeline) being no longer able to transport hydrocarbons, this would generally be decommissioning since, as a whole, the other looped lines are still able to transport hydrocarbons and provide the same level of service. Companies are encouraged to consult with Board staff if additional guidance is required regarding the distinction between abandonment and decommissioning.

[2] Filing Manual Guide B Abandonment and section 50 of the OPR, Application for Leave to Abandon show the type of information the Board expects in decommissioning applications as well as abandonment applications.

[3] In these definitions, “service” is defined as the ability of a pipeline, as a whole, to transport hydrocarbons to an end point. For clarification, when a company’s actions result in one line in a series of looped lines (collectively the pipeline) being no longer able to transport hydrocarbons, this would generally be decommissioning since, as a whole, the other looped lines are still able to transport hydrocarbons and provide the same level of service. Companies are encouraged to consult with Board staff if additional guidance is required regarding the distinction between abandonment and decommissioning.

[4] Filing Manual Guide B Abandonment and section 50 of the OPR, Application for Leave to Abandon show the type of information the Board expects in decommissioning applications as well as abandonment applications.

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