Pipeline Profiles: Trans-Northern

Pipeline system and key points

Updated February 2018

Trans-Northern pipeline map

The Trans-Northern pipeline is owned by Trans Northern Pipelines Inc. It is an 850 kilometre pipeline built in 1952 that transports refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, aviation fuel and heating fuel west from Montreal, Quebec to Toronto, Ontario, and from Imperial Oil Limited's refinery at Nanticoke, Ontario east, to Toronto. There are delivery points along both stretches, including Oakville, Toronto, Ottawa, Maitland, Belleville, Cornwall and Kingston in Ontario, as well as Montreal and Dorval in Quebec. The pipeline operates bi-directionally between Toronto and Oakville, Ontario. Three other petroleum products pipelines (two Sun-Canadian and Enbridge’s Line 8) transport gasoline, diesel, heating oil and jet fuel to Toronto and other cities along the route.

Capacity varies across each segment of the pipeline. For example, from Montreal to Farran’s Point the capacity is 21 000 cubic metres per day (m3/d) (132 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d)); from Farran’s Point to Belleville the capacity is 11 400 m3/d (72 Mb/d); and, from Belleville to Toronto the capacity is 10 000 m3/d (63 Mb/d). Since 2010 the Board has issued several safety orders reducing the maximum operating pressure of the pipelineFootnote 1.

Official Board documents related to the construction, operation and maintenance of the Trans-Northern pipeline can be found here: Trans-Northern pipeline regulatory documents [Folder 160186].

Throughput and capacityFootnote 2

Updated quarterly


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

Abandonment funding

Updated May 2018

The Board requires all pipelines to set aside funds to safely cease operation of a pipeline at the end of its useful life. In 2016, Trans-Northern estimated it would cost $87 million to do this. These funds will be collected over 40 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].


Updated February 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 tolls on selected paths from 2005 until now.


Incentive tolls on the Trans-Northern pipeline are negotiated with shippers and based on revenue requirements. The annual tolls are for routes between designated origin and destination points within the provinces of Quebec and Ontario and are charged by volume and crude oil quality. In 1996, Trans-Northern’s RHW-3-96 toll settlement established a starting point for its revenue requirement, and a mechanism to adjust costs each year. Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. earns a return on equity equivalent to the RH-2-94 formula rate plus 25 points additional return for risk. In the incentive tolls agreement, earnings above a threshold of $3.2 million are shared equally between Trans-Northern's shareholders and shippers. Shippers receive these earnings in the form of reduced tolls in the next year. Tolls are submitted annually to the Board.

Official Board documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for Trans-Northern Pipeline can be found here: Trans-Northern Pipeline toll documents [Folder 93855].

Pipeline financial information

Updated February 2018

Pipeline companies report important financial information to the Board quarterly or annually. A solid financial position enable 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 Trans-Northern’s Quarterly Surveillance Reports [Folder 3324407].

Table 1: Trans-Northern Pipeline financial data

Trans-Northern Pipeline financial data









Revenue requirement (millions)








$104Table Note a

Corporate financial information

Updated February 2018

Credit ratings and financial ratios provide an idea of the financial strength of a company, including its ability to attract capital to build new infrastructure and meet financial obligations. Credit ratings are expert opinions of how likely a debt issuer is to live up to its obligations.

Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc. is owned equally by Suncor Energy Inc., Shell Canada Limited and Imperial Oil Limited. Credit ratings agencies stopped rating Trans-Northern Pipeline Inc.in March 2015. However DBRS issued ratings for two of Trans-Northern’s owners: Suncor: A (low) and Imperial Oil Limited: AA.

Financial regulatory audits

Updated February 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. Trans-Northern’s last audit was completed in July 2012. Official Board documents related to Trans-Northern’s financial regulatory audits can be found here: [Folder 571616]


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