Pipeline Profiles: Montreal

Pipeline system

Updated September 2018

Montreal Pipe Line Limited (MPLL) owns the Montreal Pipeline, which is the NEB-regulated segment of the Portland-Montreal pipeline system. The Portland-Montreal pipeline transports crude oil from Maine, U.S. to Quebec, Canada. The U.S. segment of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline system is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The main receipt point is located in South Portland, Maine, and the main delivery point is located in Montreal, Quebec. The pipeline transports crude oil sourced from eastern Canada and international markets to Suncor’s refinery in Montreal, Quebec.

The Montreal Pipeline is comprised of 3 pipelines along the same right-of-way. The largest pipeline (24-inch) is the only line currently in operation, although no oil flowed in the early months of 2018. The other two pipelines (12-inch and 18-inch) were deactivated in 1982 and 2011.

The Montreal Pipeline was placed into service in 1941. At the end of 2017, NEB-regulated assets included 236 km of pipeline and auxiliary infrastructure. Capacity of the Montreal Pipeline has decreased over the last several years, because several pumping stations were deactivated. Capacity is approximately 35 450 cubic metres per day (223 000 barrels per day). In 2017, throughputs on the Montreal Pipeline averaged 1 814 cubic metres per day (11 414 barrels per day).

Official NEB documents related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Montreal Pipeline are available: Montreal Pipe Line Limited regulatory documents (facilities) [Folder 239003].

You can see the Montreal Pipeline and all NEB-regulated pipelines on the Board’s Interactive Pipeline Map. The map shows more detailed location information, the products carried by each pipeline, the operating status and more.

Montreal pipeline system map

Source: NEB

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Montreal Pipeline.

Condition Compliance

Updated September 2018

Every pipeline company in Canada must meet federal, provincial or territorial, and local requirements. This includes Acts, Regulations, rules, bylaws, and zoning restrictions. Pipelines are also bound by technical, safety, and environmental standards along with company rules, protocols and management systems. In addition to these requirements, the Board may add conditions to regulatory instruments that each company must meet. Condition compliance is monitored by the Board and enforcement action is taken when required. For a detailed list of conditions that MPLL must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Montreal Pipe Line Limited”.

Safety Performance

Updated September 2018

The Board holds the companies it regulates accountable to protect the safety of Canadians and the environment. As part of this accountability, companies must report events such as incidents and unauthorized activities to the Board. For a summary of pipeline incidents and unauthorized activities on the Montreal pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Montreal Pipe Line Limited”.

Emergency Management

Updated September 2018

The NEB checks to make sure companies are keeping pipelines safe by doing inspections, in-depth safety audits, and other activities. Yet, even with these precautions, an emergency could still happen. Sound emergency management practices improve public safety and environmental protection outcomes, and provide for more effective emergency response.

The NEB holds its regulated companies responsible for anticipating, preventing, mitigating, and managing incidents of any size or duration. Each company must have an emergency management program that includes detailed emergency procedures manuals to guide its response in an emergency situation. We oversee the emergency management program of a regulated company’s projects until they cease to operate.

The Board requires companies to publish information on their emergency management program and their emergency procedures manuals on their websites so Canadians can access emergency management information. To view Montreal’s Integrated Contingency Plan Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, go to Portland-Montreal Pipeline’s resources website, where they are listed as Emergency Response Plans.

Throughput and CapacityFootnote 1

Updated quarterly


Updated April 2018

A toll is the price charged by a pipeline company for transportation and other services. Tolls allow pipeline companies to safely operate and maintain pipelines. Tolls also provide funds for companies to recover capital (the money used to build the pipeline), pay debts, and provide a return to investors.

The interactive graph below shows the benchmark toll on the Montreal Pipeline for the transportation of crude oil from the interconnect with the U.S. segment of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline system near Highwater, Quebec to Montreal, Quebec. Tolls on the Montreal Pipeline increased in 2013 and 2014, due to a decrease in pipeline throughputs. Tolls decreased in mid-2016 as a result of competitive pressures and changes in the way that MPLL manages lower throughput volumes.

Open data can be freely used and shared by anyone for any purpose. The data for these graphs are available.

MPLL is subject to Group 2 financial regulation, and tolls on the Montreal Pipeline are regulated by the NEB on a complaint basis.

Official NEB documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Montreal Pipeline are available: Montreal Pipe Line Limited regulatory documents (tolls and tariffs) [Folder 3393283].

Abandonment funding

Updated April 2018

The NEB requires all pipelines to set aside funds to safely cease operation of a pipeline at the end of its useful life. In 2011, MPLL estimated it would cost $19.9 million to do this for the Montreal Pipeline. These funds will be collected over 40 years and are being set aside in a trust. Official NEB documents related to abandonment funding can be found here, sorted by year and by company: abandonment funding documents [Folder 3300366].

Pipeline financial information

Updated April 2018

Pipeline companies report important financial information to the NEB quarterly or annually. A solid financial position enables companies to maintain their pipeline systems, attract capital to build new infrastructure when required, and meet the market’s evolving needs.

The data in this table comes from MPLL’s Audited Financial Statements [Folder 357958].

Table 1: Montreal Pipeline’s financial information
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Revenues (millions $) 71.5 71.2 64.3 49.3 38.6 19.4 Table Note a
Expenses (millions $) 36.4 32.4 33.0 32.9 31.8 29.5 Table Note a
Net Income (millions $) 19.1 22.9 18.1 10.1 6.1 -5.8 Table Note a
Assets (millions $) 107.8 107.0 119.2 132.9 141.5 138.1 Table Note a

Corporate financial information

Updated April 2018

MPLL is a privately held company that is incorporated in Canada. MPLL’s shareholders are: Imperial Oil Limited (the majority shareholder), Suncor Energy Inc. and Shell Canada Limited.

Imperial Oil Limited (Imperial) is an integrated oil and gas company operating in Canada. Imperial is the largest refiner of petroleum products in Canada and operates refineries in Ontario and Alberta. Imperial operates retail gasoline stations across Canada under the Esso and Mobil brands. Imperial is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.

Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) is the largest integrated energy company in Canada. Suncor has crude oil and natural gas extraction operations in western Canada, the United Kingdom and Norway. Suncor also operates refineries in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Colorado and owns retail gasoline stations across Canada under the Petro-Canada brand. Suncor is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.

Shell Canada Limited is an oil and gas producer company operating in Canada and is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Table 2: 2018 credit ratings information for MPLL shareholders
  Moody’s DBRS S&P Global
Imperial Oil Limited n/a AA AA+
Suncor Energy Inc. Baa1 A (low) A-
Royal Dutch Shell Plc Aa2 n/a A+

Financial Regulatory Audits

Updated April 2018

The NEB audits pipeline companies to confirm compliance with the National Energy Board Act, regulations, NEB orders and NEB decisions. Financial regulatory audits focus on whether the company has complied with all Board regulations, toll orders and other accounting, reporting and toll and tariff matters. MPLL’s last audit was completed on 5 July 2013.

Official NEB documents related to MPLL’s financial regulatory audits are available: Montreal Pipeline regulatory documents (financial regulatory audits) [Folder 907551].

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