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AltaGas Holdings Inc. on Behalf of AltaGas Pipeline Partnership Application for Approval to Abandon the Pouce Coupe B Pipeline (NEB Decision MHW-005-2019)

Link to decision summarized

Natural Gas – Pipeline Project Abandonment

In this decision, the NEB considered an application by AltaGas Holdings Inc. (“AltaGas”) on October 31, 2018 to abandon the Pouce Coupe B Pipeline Project (the “Project” or “Pipeline”) in-place (the “Application”). The NEB issued Order ZP-A174-005-2019 (the “Order”) granting leave to abandon the Project subject to conditions.

Project Overview and the NEB Process

The Project was located on private land in Alberta and British Columbia leased by Canadian Natural Resources Limited (“CNRL”). AltaGas indicated no new land or facilities would be required for abandonment of the Project. Abandonment work would be conducted within the existing lease boundaries at the Pipeline endpoints.

Assessment of the Application

Engineering Matters

The NEB was satisfied with AltaGas’ approach to engineering matters as it found that the Project’s abandonment activities as described in the Application were consistent with the engineering requirements in the Canadian Standards Association Standard Z662-15: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems and the NEB Onshore Pipeline Regulations.

Economic Matters

AltaGas performed a commercial evaluation of the Pipeline and determined that there was no future potential for this asset and no current customers and as such proposed to abandon the Pipeline. The NEB found that because there were no current customers, there would be no material impact on tolls or shippers from the abandonment.

AltaGas stated that the estimated cost of the abandonment would be $93,500. AltaGas confirmed available funding for the proposed abandonment and post-abandonment monitoring and contingency. AltaGas acknowledged their financial responsibility for abandonment, monitoring, and any potential remediation required, for as long as it retains ownership of the Pipeline.

The NEB found that given the small size of the abandonment relative to AltaGas’ Abandonment Cost Estimate (“ACE”), the NEB did not require changes to AltaGas’ ACE. To continuously improve the accuracy of ACEs the NEB imposed Condition 4 – Quarterly Physical Abandonment Activity Report requiring AltaGas to provide actual cost data broken down by abandonment activity.

Environment Matters

The endpoints of the Pipeline were within CNRL active leases. Internal cold cutting technology would be used to eliminate the need for ground disturbance.

AltaGas indicated it did not expect reclamation for areas where physical abandonment activities were occurring to be necessary. Reclamation of the lease sites would be the responsibility of the lease-holder, CNRL.

The NEB noted that the Project was not subject to the requirements of an Environmental Assessment.

The NEB was of the view that leaving the Pipeline in-place posed a low environmental risk.

The NEB found that AltaGas’ proposed mitigation measures as described in its Environmental Protection Plan followed the industry standards and were suitable given the Project scope and nature of the activities.

The NEB considered the nature and scope of the Project, the proposed mitigation measures, and implemented conditions. The NEB determined that the Project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Public Consultation, Lands and Socio-Economic Matters

AltaGas stated that no outstanding issues or concerns were raised by potentially interested stakeholders.

According to the NEB’s Filing Manual, applicants are expected to initiate project-specific consultation activities as soon as possible in the planning and design phase of the Project. The NEB noted that AltaGas provided potentially interested stakeholders with notification before it filed the Application with the Board.

The Board was satisfied that anyone potentially affected by the Project was given notice of the Project and had the opportunity to voice their concerns to AltaGas and the NEB. The NEB stated that the consultation activities were appropriate given the scale and scope of the Project.

The NEB was satisfied that AltaGas had identified and addressed all relevant socio-economic effects of the Project. The NEB noted the limited scope and duration of abandonment activities and that the Project was located within leased and previously disturbed lands. The NEB determined that significant socio-economic effects by the project were unlikely.

Indigenous Matters

AltaGas stated that it did not identify any Indigenous communities that would be affected by the Project.

The NEB directed AltaGas to serve the notice on the nine Indigenous communities having asserted traditional territory within which the Project area is located.

The NEB noted that AltaGas did not initiate consultation with Indigenous communities until after it was directed to by the NEB and that the notification was not completed within the imposed timeframe. However, the NEB found that AltaGas ultimately notified potentially impacted Indigenous communities sufficiently.

AltaGas concluded that due to the small nature and short duration of the Project, potential effects were not expected to affect Indigenous communities. The NEB agreed with AltaGas that the Project would not impact the rights and interests of Aboriginal communities.


The NEB granted AltaGas leave to abandon the Pipeline.

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