Gas – Pipeline Abandonment
This is a decision by the National Energy Board (“NEB”), released on the letterhead of the CER.
In this decision, the NEB considered an application the (“Application”) from AltaGas Holdings Inc. (“AltaGas”) for leave to abandon its 7.7 kilometre natural gas Acadia Valley Pipeline (the “Pipeline” or “Project”) and tie-ins. Pursuant to section 74 of the National Energy Board Act and section 50 of the National Energy Board Onshore Pipeline Regulations, the NEB granted AltaGas leave to abandon the pipeline subject to conditions set out in Order ZO-A174-007-2019.
Assessment of the Application
The NEB was content with the abandonment activities described in the Application. The NEB found AltaGas abided by its commitment and requirement to comply with Canadian Standards Association Standard Z662-15: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems and NEB Onshore Pipeline Regulations. AltaGas was further reminded of its obligations to comply with the new edition of CSA Z662-19.
The NEB was of the view that the abandonment would not have a material impact on tolls or shippers as the facilities had no current customers. AltaGas submitted that the estimated total cost of the abandonment would be $131,791 and confirmed that funding would be available for the proposed abandonment and post-abandonment monitoring and contingency.
The NEB imposed Condition 4 – Quarterly Physical Abandonment Activity Cost Reports which required AltaGas to provide cost data broken down by abandonment activity. The NEB imposed this condition to work towards improving the accuracy of abandonment cost estimates.
The NEB was of the view that abandoning the pipeline in place posed low environmental risk.
No historical spills, odours or surface staining were identified as a result of the assessment. AltaGas’ Environmental Protection Plan (“EPP”) included mitigation measures to be implemented in the event contamination is encountered or suspected during abandonment activities, as well as measures for spill prevention, preparedness and management.
Condition 5 – Reclamation Reporting was imposed by the NEB. This condition set out the requirements and schedule for reporting progress to the NEB for addressing the environmental issues and the equivalent land capability objective. AltaGas is required to monitor the Pipeline Right of Way (“RoW”) and provide Reclamation Reports following the completion of abandonment activities. These Reports need to demonstrate that the RoW had reached or would reach equivalent land capability.
Considering the conditions and circumstances of the abandonment, the NEB anticipated any potential adverse environmental effects arising from the Project would not be likely to cause any significant adverse environmental effects.
Public Consultation, Lands and Socio-Economic Matters
The NEB was satisfied that anyone potentially affected by the Project was informed of the Project, given notice and had the opportunity to bring concerns to AltaGas or the NEB. The NEB viewed the consultation activities to have been appropriate for the scale and scope of the Project.
The NEB found that Indigenous communities potentially impacted by the abandonment activities were sufficiently notified. These communities also had further opportunities to voice any concerns.
The NEB granted AltaGas leave to abandon the facilities.