National Energy Board outlines plan to address Minister Sohi’s request on how to optimize pipeline capacity

10 December 2018

The Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, has asked the National Energy Board (Board) for advice under subsection 26(2) of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act). In his 30 November 2018 letter, Minister Sohi seeks the Board’s advice on how to optimize oil transportation capacity on existing pipelines and rail, and has requested that the Board report as soon as possible.

The Board plans to release, in December, a public report on the current state of crude oil markets and pipeline capacity. This data-filled factual report will serve as a backgrounder as the NEB prepares its advice in response to the three key questions asked by the Minister:

  1. Is the current monthly nomination process to access available capacity on oil pipelines functioning appropriately, consistent with the “common carrier” provisions of the NEB Act and efficient utilization of pipeline infrastructure?
  2. Are there other impediments to the further optimization of pipeline capacity?
  3. Are there short-term steps to further maximize rail capacity?

The Board also plans to post on its website, in December, a forum for providing input on these questions. Throughout January the Board will meet with pipeline companies, producers, shippers, governments, other regulators and experts to seek input on the questions in the Minister’s letter. The Board intends to provide its report directly to the Minister in February 2019.

The Minister’s request falls within the Board’s advisory duties under Part II of the NEB Act, which are separate and distinct from the Board’s regulatory functions, including those in Part IV relating to Traffic, Tolls and Tariffs. The Board will not make any regulatory decisions as part of this advisory process.

C. Peter Watson, P. Eng., FCAE
Chair and CEO

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