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Proposed Amendment to Regulation of Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines under the National Energy Board Act [PDF 359 KB]

File OF-Fac-NOMA 01
10 January 2012

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

Proposed Amendment to Regulation of Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines under the National Energy Board Act

Background

In 2005, the Board released its Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines Regulated Under the National Energy Board Act: Requirements and Guidance Notes (O&M Guidelines) in relation to operations and maintenance activities on pipelines regulated under the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act).

In accordance with the O&M Guidelines, the Board evaluates routine O&M activities as part of the original application for the construction and operation of a pipeline. For this reason, companies are not required to apply for additional approval to undertake most O&M activities.

Board Action

The Board has determined that amendments to the O&M Guidelines are required to provide the public and regulated companies with greater clarity about what constitutes O&M activities under the O&M Guidelines and how these activities will be regulated by the Board. Through this notice, the Board is proposing to amend the Board’s O&M Guidelines, as set out in the attached draft.

The Board remains committed to promoting safety, security, environmental protection and economic efficiency, and respecting the rights of those that may be affected by the Board’s decisions. The Board will continue to regulate O&M activities through the notification requirements of the O&M Guidelines and its inspection and audit programs.

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 O&M Guidelines.

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 > Operations and Maintenance Activities.

Comments may be provided electronically or in hard copy by mail or by fax with the heading: Operations and Maintenance Requirements and Guidance Notes 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

National Energy Board
444 Seventh Avenue SW
Calgary, AB   T2P 0X8
Facsimile 403-292-5503

Attachment

DRAFT

Operations and Maintenance Activities on
Pipelines Regulated Under the
National Energy Board Act:
Requirements and Guidance Notes
January 2012 (draft for comment)

Table of Contents

  • 1.0 Goal
  • 2.0 Background
  • 3.0 Definitions
    • 3.1 Eligible Activities
    • 3.2 Restrictions on Eligible Activities
    • 3.3 Ineligible Activities
  • 4.0 Requirements
    • 4.1 Notification to the National Energy Board
    • 4.2 Unplanned Operations and Maintenance Activities
    • 4.3 Public Consultation
    • 4.4 Record Maintenance
    • 4.5 Other Regulatory Obligations
  • 5.0 Other Issues
    • 5.1 Toll Considerations & Commercial Third Parties
  • 6.0 Continual Improvement
  • 7.0 Contacting the Board
  • Schedule A - Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines Regulated Under the National Energy Board Act: Requirements and Guidance Notes, Schedule A

1.0 Goal

The goal of the Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines Regulated Under the National Energy Board Act: Requirements and Guidance Notes (O&M Guidelines) is to provide all parties with greater clarity about how operations and maintenance activities on pipelines (including processing plants) under the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) will be regulated, while promoting safety, security, environmental protection, economic efficiency, and respect for the rights of those that may be affected.

2.0 Background

Routine operations and maintenance activities are evaluated by the National Energy Board (the Board) as part of the original application for the construction and operation of a pipeline[1]; therefore, companies are not required to apply for additional approval to undertake most operations and maintenance activities. The Board continues to regulate operations and maintenance activities and to fulfill its mandate through its inspection and audit programs.

[1] "Pipeline" is defined in the NEB Act as "a line that is used or to be used for the transmission of oil, gas, alone or with other commodity... and includes all branches, extensions, tanks, reservoirs, storage facilities, pumps, racks, compressors, loading facilities, interstation systems of communication by telephone, telegraph or radio and real and personal property, or immovable and movable, and works connected to them, but does not include a sewer or water pipeline that is used or proposed to be used solely for municipal purposes."

The requirements for operations and maintenance activities contained in this document apply to all pipelines regulated under the NEB Act that occur on lands owned by the applicant company or where there is an agreement in place between the company and the landowner(s) that covers the construction, operation and maintenance of a pipeline, including:

  • company owned land;
  • land rights held under easement, leased, or licensed land; and
  • temporary workspace.

3.0 Definitions

3.1 Eligible Activities

Operations and maintenance activities include:

  1. all activities necessary to safely operate an existing pipeline;
  2. maintenance activities, upgrades or repairs to an existing pipeline or part of a pipeline that do not increase the approved maximum operating pressure (MOP), the stress level or diameter of the pipeline; or
  3. physically removing an existing section of pipe up to 1 km in length, and putting a new section of pipe in its place, as long as this replacement does not increase the approved maximum operating pressure (MOP), stress level or diameter of the pipeline.

3.2 Restrictions on Eligible Activities

Where any of the following restrictions exist, the company must apply to the Board in accordance with the NEB Act and the related Regulations and may not carry out the proposed activity until approval from the Board has been obtained. The restrictions apply where:

  1. there are outstanding 3rd party concerns (i.e., landowners, Aboriginal groups, shippers, federal and provincial departments, or other parties who may be affected by the O&M activities)[2];
  2. the work includes welding on an in-service pipeline by a company that has not previously performed in-service welding in accordance with the requirements of CSA Z662-11, Clause 7.17, ‘Welding on In-Service Piping’, or the equivalent clause in the most recent edition of CSA Z662;
  3. new land or right-of-way must be acquired;
  4. the work involves an aerial crossing; or
  5. the work includes a change of class location under CSA Z662, from the class location of the project at the time the Board last considered the issue (i.e. at the time of issuance of the original Order or Certificate or at the time of issuance of an amending order where the change of class location was considered by the Board).

[2] The Board offers Appropriate Dispute Resolution to help resolve outstanding concerns (Board services include informal discussions, facilitated meetings and mediation)

Operations and maintenance activities that fall within the types of activities listed in 3.1 above, and to which none of the restrictions in 3.2 apply, do not require an application to the Board under the NEB Act. Companies will be required to notify the Board prior to undertaking the operations and maintenance activities. (See Schedule A and Section 4.1).

3.3 Ineligible Activities

Operations and maintenance activities do not include:

  1. upgrades that result in increases to the MOP, stress levels, the diameter of the pipeline, and/or permanent increases in airborne emissions or noise levels, above previously approved levels or specifications[3];
  2. "looping" (i.e., adding pipe parallel or adjacent to, and interconnected with, an existing pipeline for the general purpose of increasing capacity);
  3. construction of a new pipeline; or
  4. deactivation (for longer than 12 months), reactivation (where a pipeline has been deactivated for more than 12 months), decommissioning, or abandonment.

[3] Does not include temporary increases in air emissions and noise emissions during construction.

Guidance Notes:

Operations and maintenance activities do not include the addition of a parallel piece of pipe without removal of the existing pipe that has permanently ceased operation. If the company plans to leave an existing section of pipe in place, it must apply to the Board: (i) for an exemption under section 58 of the NEB Act, for the construction and operation of the new section of pipeline; and (ii) to decommission the existing section of pipe under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR).

Companies are required to apply to the Board for the installation of any length of pipe that is greater than 1 km.

In general, "upgrades" do not include additions of components to a pipeline or processing facility that were not specifically contemplated in the original Certificate or Order. However, the definition of upgrade includes the addition of cathodic protection systems, as these are typically contemplated during the assessment of the original pipeline. Therefore, the addition of a cathodic protection system is considered an operations and maintenance activity.

Upgrades include improvements in technology. For example, if a company were proposing to install solar panels as a power source in place of an existing source of fuel oil, the proposed installation would be considered an upgrade. This is analogous to removing an existing section of pipe and putting a new section in its place, since the function of the installation would not change from what was originally approved.

Upgrades do not include adding new connections, including tie-ins or hot taps, and associated piping and metering facilities for the purposes of sale or receipt of oil or gas. These installations still require an exemption Order under section 58 of the NEB Act and are captured within the section 58 Streamlining Order. However, metering or regulating facilities installed for the sole purposes of measurement or monitoring are considered operations and maintenance activities.

Companies are encouraged to contact the Board for additional clarification related to specific operations and maintenance activities they are planning (see Section 7.0 for contact information).

All of the preceding activities require an application under the NEB Act, the OPR or the National Energy Board Processing Plant Regulations (PPR). (See Schedule A).

4.0 Requirements

4.1 Notification to the National Energy Board

Goal:

The Board is provided with sufficient information to make a decision as to whether to inspect operations and maintenance activities that could result in high safety consequences to landowners or the public, high environmental consequences, or a negative impact on normal third-party use of the right-of-way (RoW) or adjacent property.

Requirements:

In any of the following circumstances, the Board requires companies to provide notification to the Board of operations and maintenance activities at least 10 working days[4] prior to starting work:

  • exposure of the pipe surface for the purposes of integrity assessments, repairs or removing an existing section of pipe and putting a new section in its place in areas where there are buildings intended for human occupancy having four or more stories above ground within 200 m of the pipe or where the activity takes place within 200 m of a school, hospital, prison, or other institution where people routinely congregate in large groups (e.g., groups of more than 50 people);
  • removing an existing section of pipe and putting a new section in its place where the replacement is greater than 100 m (but less than 1 km) in length;
  • pressure testing of line pipe performed by means other than hydrostatic testing[5]; and
  • ground disturbance using power-operated equipment within 30 m of a wetland[6] or a water body[7], or within 30 m of the substrate of a wetland or water body.

[4] "working days" do not include Saturdays, Sundays, or statutory holidays.
[5] As per sections 7 and 23 of the OPR, the Board may require a company to submit the details of its pressure testing program prior to starting pressure testing.
[6] Wetland means a swamp, marsh, bog, fen or other land that is covered by shallow water seasonally or permanently, including land where the water table is located at or close to the surface.
[7] Water body means a river, a lake, a creek, a stream, a canal, a reservoir, an ocean, up to the high-water mark, but does not include a sewage or waste treatment lagoon or a mine tailings pond.

For any of the above-noted activities, companies are required to submit the following information when notifying the Board:

  • a description of the planned activity or project;
  • a rationale for the activity or project;
  • the location of the activity (e.g., legal land description, kilometre post);
  • timing and duration of the activity (e.g., day, week, month);
  • reference to applicable section(s) of relevant company manuals or environmental protection plan;
  • a record of consultation that has been undertaken with potentially affected 3rd parties (i.e., landowners, Aboriginal groups, shippers, federal and provincial departments, and other parties who may be affected by the O&M activities); or justification why consultation was not carried out; and
  • a contact person with the company, with whom the Board could follow-up.

Guidance Notes:

For notification, the Board requires sufficient information to understand the nature and scope of the operations and maintenance activities. The information required for notification to the Board should be concise, but it should provide the Board with sufficient detail to determine whether Board follow-up is warranted. With respect to Board inspections of operations and maintenance activities, the Board will rely on the information outlined in the company’s Operations and Maintenance Manual, its Environmental Protection Program, and information resulting from public consultation activities when verifying compliance of operations and maintenance activities.

Companies that have the ability to file documents electronically are expected to file notifications through the Board's electronic document repository at www.neb-one.gc.ca.

For more information about filing electronically, please refer the Board's Internet site at www.neb-one.gc.ca under the "Regulatory Documents” heading. Please note that e-mails are not considered electronic filing and will not be accepted.

Should documents be filed by hard copy or facsimile only, the Board will scan the document into the electronic document repository.

When filing a notification by hard copy, companies should provide 25 copies to the Board. If the company files electronically, one hard copy must be subsequently filed. The hard copy must have attached to it a signed copy of the Electronic Filing Receipt that the system will return to the filer (via e-mail) upon receipt of the electronic document. Please file your completed notification with the Board and address it to:

Secretary
National Energy Board
444 Seventh Avenue SW
Calgary, AB  T2P 0X8

To view notifications on the Board's Internet site at www.neb-one.gc.ca , select “View” under the "Regulatory Documents" heading. Once in the "Regulatory Documents Index", under the "Facilities" column heading, select the facility's commodity type (e.g.,oil, gas). In the next screen, select the company of interest. The notifications will be filed in a sub-folder called "Notifications of Operations and Maintenance Activities" at the top of the page.

4.2 Unplanned Operations and Maintenance Activities

Goal:

Companies undertake all operations and maintenance activities that are required to safely operate a pipeline and to protect the environment.

Requirement:

For operations and maintenance activities that are unplanned (i.e., the company only becomes aware these activities are necessary shortly before starting the work), but which would normally require advance notification (see list of activities requiring notification in Section 4.1), companies are required to notify the Board as soon as they determine the activity must be carried out, following the same notification process outlined in.

Guidance Notes:

Notifying the Board of unplanned operations and maintenance activities does not substitute for a company's obligation to report incidents under the OPR, PPR, the National Energy Board Pipeline Crossing Regulations, the Transportation Safety Board Act, the Canada Labour Code, and/or under other relevant legislation. Such reporting is also required.

4.3 Public Consultation

Goal:

Companies conduct effective public consultation related to operations and maintenance activities.

Requirements:

The Board requires companies to engage parties whose rights or interests may be affected by operations and maintenance, prior to undertaking those activities. Companies must document all consultation activities and maintain documentation and must provide this documentation as outlined in Section 4.1, or upon request from the Board.

Guidance Notes:

"Public consultation" refers to the range of activities a company can undertake to share information with members of the public who may be affected by operations and maintenance activities, and to identify and resolve issues or concerns related to these activities. Examples of potentially-affected members of the public include landowners, tenants, residents, Aboriginal communities, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, trappers, guides, outfitters, recreational users, other land or resource users (e.g., forestry, mining), and commercial third parties.

The Board recognizes that effective public consultation goes beyond simply informing potentially-affected members of the public, and includes involving them in decisions or plans that may affect their lives. Companies must carry out public consultation activities that are reasonable for the scope and nature of the planned activity, and must justify the extent of public consultation carried out, particularly if no consultation is undertaken.

Although not an exhaustive list, the following sources provide companies with guidance on effective public consultation, which should be considered when planning operations and maintenance activities:

The Board expects companies to maintain records of public consultation activities related to operations and maintenance activities. At a minimum, the Board expects companies to document and retain the following information related to public consultation activities:

  • Who was involved?
  • When did public engagement occur?
  • What issues were raised?
  • How were the issues addressed?
  • What issues were not resolved?
  • What follow-up was or is planned to address unresolved issues?

When consultation includes Aboriginal communities, companies should consider establishing a consultation protocol with these communities that takes into consideration their rights, interests, and cultural elements.

4.4 Record Maintenance

Goal:

Companies maintain documentation for operations and maintenance activities.

Requirement:

Companies are required to keep a record of all operations and maintenance activities undertaken in accordance with the current version of CSA Z662.

Guidance Notes:

Companies are expected to keep a record of all operations and maintenance activities that are carried out. Companies are also expected to maintain documentation of the operations and maintenance activities for which notification to the Board is required. The information listed for notification purposes in Section 4.1 is the minimum requirement for documentation purposes.

4.5 Other Regulatory Obligations

Goal:

Companies fulfill regulatory obligations to other federal, territorial, and provincial agencies for operations and maintenance activities.

Requirements:

Depending on the type and/or location of the operations and maintenance activity, companies may have regulatory obligations under other federal, territorial or provincial legislation or under other parts of the NEB Act, the OPR, PPR or other regulations pursuant to the NEB Act.

Guidance Notes:

Since operations and maintenance activities on facilities regulated under the NEB Act do not require a section 58 exemption Order or section 52 Certificate, these activities will not trigger an environmental assessment (EA) by the Board under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEA Act). However, companies may require approvals under other legislation, such as the federal Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, or the Migratory Birds Regulations that may trigger the need for another federal agency to conduct a CEA Act EA. Companies are also reminded of their obligations under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Species at Risk Act. The Board recommends that companies check with regional offices for federal, territorial and provincial agencies to ensure they are meeting all of their regulatory obligations.

In addition, certain activities may require an application or notification under other parts of the NEB Act, the OPR, the PPR, or other regulations pursuant to the NEB Act.

5.0 Other Issues

5.1 Toll Considerations & Commercial Third Parties

The Board encourages parties to submit ideas on improving these requirements, the notification process, or other aspects of the regulation of operations and maintenance activities in writing to:

Requirements:

None.

Guidance Notes:

Guidance Notes: Since operations and maintenance activities do not require an application under section 58 or section 52 of the NEB Act, companies may wish to consider other methods to communicate certain capital additions to shippers.

6.0 Continual Improvement

The Board encourages parties to submit ideas on improving these requirements, the notification process, or other aspects of the regulation of operations and maintenance activities in writing to:

Secretary
National Energy Board
444 Seventh Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta  T2P 0X8
Facsimile: 403-292-5503
Email: secretary@neb-one.gc.ca

The Board anticipates it will review feedback received at regular intervals after implementation to determine whether process improvements can be made.

7.0 Contacting the Board

Where a project or activity does not appear to be addressed by these requirements, companies are expected to contact the Board for clarification, prior to undertaking the activity:

The Board’s Toll-free Number is 1-800-899-1265.

Schedule A: Operations and Maintenance Requirements and Guidance Notes in relation to operations and maintenance activities on pipelines regulated under the National Energy Board Act (O&M)

Schedule A: Operations and Maintenance Requirements and Guidance Notes in relation to operations and maintenance activities on pipelines regulated under the National Energy Board Act (O&M)

Step 1 - Eligible Activities - Does the activity relate to one or more of the following?

1.1 all activities necessary to safely operate an existing pipeline;

1.2 maintenance activities, upgrades or repairs to an existing pipeline or part of a pipeline that do not increase the approved maximum operating pressure (MOP), the stress level or diameter of the pipeline; OR

1.3 physically removing an existing section of pipe of up to 1 km in length and putting a new section in its place, as long as this does not increase the approved maximum operating pressure (MOP), stress level or diameter of the pipeline.






Left Arrow
An application under the NEB Act or Regulations is required.
Down Arrow    

Step 2 - Restrictions - Do one or more of these apply?

2.1 there are outstanding 3rd party concerns (e.g., landowners, Aboriginal groups, shippers, federal and provincial departments, other parties who may be affected by the O&M activities);

2.2 the work includes welding on an in-service pipeline by a company that has not previously performed in-service welding in accordance with the requirements of Clause 10.9 of CSA Z662;

2.3 new land must be acquired;

2.4 the work involves an aerial crossing; OR

2.5 the work includes a change of class location under CSA Z662, from the class location of the project at the time the Board last considered the issue.








Left Arrow
An application under the NEB Act or Regulations is required.
Down Arrow    
  
Work may proceed under O&M (and, if applicable, the Decommissioning Exemption Order)
      
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