Pipeline Profiles: Trans-Northern

Pipeline system and key points

Updated September 2018

Trans-Northern pipeline system 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].

You can see Trans-Northern 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.

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 Trans-Northern must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Trans-Northern Pipelines 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 Trans-Northern pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Trans-Northern Pipelines 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 Trans-Northern’s Emergency Response Plan, go to its Emergency Response Plan website.

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.


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].

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].

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 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Revenue requirement (millions) $56 $66 $65 $66 $69 $81 $84 $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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