Pipeline Profiles: Enbridge Norman Wells

Pipeline system and key points

Updated September 2018

The Enbridge Norman Wells pipeline is owned by Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. Norman Wells pipeline is an 869 kilometer pipeline commissioned in 1985 to transport crude oil from Imperial Oil’s facility in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories to Zama in northern Alberta, where it connects with the Alberta oil pipeline network. The pipeline is used exclusively by Imperial Oil Resources.

In November 2016, Enbridge shut down the Norman Wells Pipeline, also known as Line 21, as a preventive measure to investigate and address ground instability on the south slope of the Mackenzie River pipeline crossing near Ft. Simpson, Northwest Territories. In March 2017, Enbridge applied to the Board to replace a 2.5 kilometre section of the pipeline under the Mackenzie River, and to decommission the replaced section of the pipeline. The National Energy Board held a public hearing for the Line 21 Segment Replacement Project in late 2017. Currently the pipeline is not transporting any product and there is no date set for a restart of the pipeline.

Official Board documents related to the construction, operation and maintenance of the Enbridge NW pipeline can be found here: Enbridge Pipelines (NW) regulatory documents [Folder 140186].

You can see the Enbridge Norman Wells 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.

Norman Wells pipeline system map

Source: NEB

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Norman Wells Pipeline System.

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 Enbridge must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc.”

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 Enbridge Norman Wells pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc.”

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 Enbridge Norman Wells’ regional Integrated Contingency Plan, go to Enbridge’s Field Emergency Response Plans website, where its plans are organized by area of operation.

Throughput and capacityFootnote 1

Updated quarterly

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


Updated December 2017

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 tolls for key paths on the pipeline since 2006.

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

Tolls on the Norman Wells pipeline are regulated on a complaint basis, based on a cost of service methodology. The cost of service is calculated according to the Norman Wells Pipeline Amending Agreement approved by the National Energy Board in 1998. Year-end adjustments are based on the actual full cost of service and throughput for a specific year. Enbridge determines its allowable equity return using the formula from the National Energy Board's RH-2-94 decision. Significant toll increases are attributed to decreasing throughput and increased integrity spending.

Official Board documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Norman Wells can be found here: Enbridge Norman Wells toll documents [Folder 305098].

Abandonment funding

Updated May 2018

The Board requires pipeline companies to set aside funds to safely cease operations of a pipeline at the end of its useful life. In 2016, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. estimated it would cost $45 million to do this for Enbridge Norman Wells. These funds will be collected over 11 years and are being set aside in a trust. Official Board documents related to abandonment funding can be found here, sorted by year and by company: abandonment funding documents [Folder 3300366].

Financial resource requirements

Updated December 2017

The National Energy Board Act requires major oil pipeline companies to set aside $1 billion to pay for the costs of any incident that occurs, such as a spill. See sections 48.11 to 48.17 of the Act for more information. Enbridge Pipelines Inc. demonstrated that is has financial resources in excess of $1 billion dollars. Official Board documents related to the Enbridge’s financial resources can be found here: Enbridge financial resources documents [Folder 2955535].

Pipeline financial information

Updated December 2017

Pipeline companies report important financial information to the Board quarterly or annually. A strong financial position enables pipeline companies to maintain their pipeline systems, attract capital to build new infrastructure, and meet the market’s evolving needs. The data in this table comes from cost of service reports [Folder 305601] filed with the Board.

Table 1: Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. financial data
Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. financial data 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Cost of service (millions) $32 $75 $47 $65 $69 $62 $62 $53Table Note a
Rate base (millions) $113 $109 $110 $141 $162 $151 $128 $105Table Note a
Return on equity 8.46% 8.08% 7.58% 7.23% 7.93% 7.64% 7.38% 6.86%Table Note a
Deemed equity 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50%

Corporate financial information

Updated December 2017

The Enbridge Norman Wells pipeline is part of Enbridge Inc. In 2016, earnings from the Norman Wells pipeline accounted for less than 2% of Enbridge Inc. profits.

Financial regulatory audits

Updated March 2018

The Board audits pipeline companies to confirm compliance with the National Energy Board Act, regulations, Board orders and Board decisions. Financial regulatory audits focus on toll and tariff matters such as detecting cross-subsidies. Enbridge (NW)’s last audit was completed in November 2011. Official Board documents related to Enbridge (NW)’s financial regulatory audits can be found here: [Folder 693513].

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