ARCHIVED – Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 - Notice of Proposed Regulatory Change (NOPRC) - Management Systems - Questions and Answers

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Q1. What is a NOPRC?

  • The Board issues a NOPRC when it wishes to communicate proposed regulatory amendments to stakeholders. The Board establishes a review period for the proposed regulatory change. Once stakeholders have commented on the NOPRC and the review period is complete, the Board will finalize the NOPRC. The Board will then issue the finalized NOPRC as a Proposed Regulatory Change (PRC). When the Board next amends the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR-99), the content of the PRC will be incorporated into those amendments, subject to Governor in Council approval.

Q2. Why is the National Energy Board issuing this Notice of Proposed Regulatory Change (NOPRC 2011-01)?

  • The Board has issued the NOPRC 2011-01 to provide greater clarity for the requirement that companies maintain a systematic approach to meet the obligations of the OPR-99.
  • The Board's expectation continues to be that a company incorporates the management of risks in its operations, and that this approach be a key part of a company's overall management system to provide for safe and secure practice, and protection of the environment throughout the lifecycle (design, construction, operation, maintenance and abandonment) of a pipeline system.
  • While the NOPRC 2011-01 provides greater clarity as outlined above, it also contains some new proposed requirements (described in Q3). With the issuance of the NOPRC 2011-01, and subsequent PRC, companies will be aware of the new proposed requirements and will be able to develop and implement changes to their current management system approach before the OPR-99 is formally amended.

Q3. What are the new requirements proposed in the NOPRC 2011-01?

  • The new requirements proposed in the NOPRC 2011-01 are as follows:
    • A company is required to appoint a person as an accountable officer to be responsible on the company's behalf for meeting the management system requirements.
    • A company must develop a policy for internal reporting of hazards, near misses, and incidents. The policy must include the conditions under which immunity from disciplinary action will be granted.
    • Annual reporting to the Board on performance measures and internal audits will be required.

Q4. Why is there a requirement for a company to appoint an accountable officer?

  • The accountable officer is the person responsible on the company's behalf for meeting the requirements of sections 2 and 3.
  • The accountable officer provides the focus, direction, influence and leadership, which is required to create a robust culture of safety, security and environmental protection within the organization. Corporate culture is driven by the top down and as a result, engagement and commitment at the most senior level is required to affect changes as needed.

Q5. How would a company select an accountable officer?

  • A company must select an accountable officer who has authority for the financial and human resources of the company required for activities authorized by the NEB. The accountable officer is often the person who holds the most senior position in the company. Based on a company's organizational structure, this person may hold the position of CEO, President, or some other designation. Appendix I contains A flowchart to assist companies with the identification of the accountable officer.

Q6. Does the NOPRC 2011-01 affect the current requirements of the OPR-99?

  • No. The current OPR-99 provides assurance that pipelines are safe and protective of the environment.

Q7. Does the NOPRC 2011-01 change the Board's compliance program?

  • No. The Board will continue to assess compliance through audits, inspections, meetings and investigations.

Q8. What is the connection between the Board's "Audit Protocol" and this NOPRC?

  • The Board's existing Audit Protocol is provided as guidance on how regulated companies can prepare for a management and protection program audit. The Audit Protocol elements are contained in the NOPRC but the NOPRC provides further clarity on the Board's expectations.

Q9. On 1 April 2011 the Proposed Regulatory Change (PRC 2010-01) for a company's Pipeline Security Management Program becomes effective. At that time all companies are expected to have a security program that is in accordance with the Canadian Standards Association Z246.1-09, Security Management for Petroleum and Natural Gas Industry Systems (CSA Z246.1-09). Are companies expected to follow NOPRC 2011-01 in addition to the PRC 2010-01?

  • No. The PRC 2010-01 continues to form the basis of the Board's interim expectations regarding pipeline security programs, and the basis for the Board's regulatory compliance activities concerning pipeline security.
  • NOPRC 2011-01 uses many of the same management system elements and requirements as the CSA Z246.1-09, which is referenced in the PRC 2010-01.
  • However, there are some additional elements in the NOPRC that are not in the PRC 2010-01. These elements do not need to be followed before the OPR-99 is formally amended, unless the company chooses to do so.

Q10. The NEB has issued other regulatory clarifications and updates for the OPR-99 since it was issued in 1999. What are the connections between these and the NOPRC 2011-01?

  • Since the OPR-99 was issued in 1999, the Board has provided clarifications and updates with respect to regulatory requirements in the OPR-99, in addition to the PRC 2010-01 for a company's Pipeline Security Management Program. These include:
    • Security and Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs, describing the Board's expectations for emergency preparedness and response programs in the OPR-99 (April 2002)
    • Regulation of Operations and Maintenance Activities on Pipelines under the National Energy Board Act (July 2005)
  • The Board intends to incorporate the content of these notices, as well as the NOPRC 2011-01 and subsequent PRC into the proposed amendments to the OPR-99. The Board may make amendments to the OPR-99 with the approval of Governor in Council.

Q11. Do companies have to develop a single safety and environmental protection management system?

  • No, not necessarily. It's important that system elements, as outlined in the NOPRC 2011-01, are applied to all program areas as set out in the OPR-99, such as the Integrity Management Program, Safety Program, Environmental Protection Program and the Emergency Procedures Manual. The management system for each of the program areas may be part of a company's overall management system or can be designed as a series of stand alone systems.

Q12. Do all management systems need to look the same?

  • No. A pipeline company's management system should complement existing processes and programs already developed and should be proportionate to the size and risk of the assets being protected. The management system requirement is intended to be scalable, so that it can be used appropriately by small operators as well as large companies.

Q13. How can I comment on the NOPRC 2011-01?

  • The closing date for comments is 18 April 2011. In addition to comments on the NOPRC 2011-01, the Board is seeking input on the type of guidance that may be required to accompany the proposed sections.

Comments may be provided electronically or in hard copy by mail or by fax sent to the contact information below.

NOPRC 2011-01 Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999
Anne-Marie Erickson
Secretary of the Board
National Energy Board
444 - 7th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, AB  T2P 0X8
Facsimile: 403-299-5503; 1-877-288-8803

Media inquiries
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265

Appendix I

Appendix I - Accountable Officer Selection Questions

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