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Release of New Pipeline Rules and Associated Instruments, AER Bulletin 2023-40

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Oil and Gas – law

On November 15, 2023, the AER released a new edition of the Pipeline Rules, which came in force on the same day.

The amended Pipeline Rules:

  • allow the use of temporary surface pipelines for water conveyance in support of the Water Conservation Policy for Upstream Oil and Gas Operations;
  • align with standard CSA Z662: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems concerning the safety and loss management system, and integrity management program;
  • clarify requirements for minimum cover for existing or abandoned pipelines;
  • remove duplicate requirements for pressure control and overpressure protection at pipeline tie-ins in cases where pressure control is managed elsewhere;
  • reorganize requirements for ground disturbance, including trenchless excavation techniques;
  • provide a limited exemption for release reporting of specific on-installation releases (that are low volume, low risk and not an indicator of pipeline integrity concerns);
  • reorganize requirements and update the pipeline removal process to ensure consistency with current discontinuation and abandonment processes;
  • allow licensees up to 24 months (rather than 12) to discontinue, abandon or resume an operation of a pipeline managed under an integrity management program; and
  • allow for some system-wide abandonments without disconnecting tie-ins.

In conjunction with the release of the Pipeline Rules, the AER released new editions of:

  • Directive 077: Pipelines – Requirements and Reference Tools (“Directive 077”);
  • Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules (“Directive 056”);
  • Manual 005: Pipeline Inspections (“Manual 005”); and
  • Manual 012: Energy Development Applications; Procedures and Schedules (“Manual 012”).
Directive 077

The main changes to Directive 077 include:

  • expansion of the use of temporary surface pipelines for water conveyance (improving operational efficiency) and addition of five associated forms (authorization requests and information submissions);
  • increased alignment with CSA standards and revision of references to CSA Z662: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems;
  • revision of the sections on the use of gaseous and non-fresh water as test mediums for pressure testing, including the addition of two new forms;
  • deletion of redundant or no longer relevant content;
  • revision of certain figures and interpretation of jurisdictional boundaries for pipelines and piping; and
  • addition of a new section on commingling oil effluent and gas production streams.
Directive 056

The main changes to Directive 056 include:

  • reordering of pipeline-related sections to improve clarity;
  • minor changes to pipeline abandonment, discontinuance, removal and line split provisions;
  • change in the pipeline technical audit documentation requirements for new construction and amendment applications; and
  • change in application requirements in accordance with the revised Pipeline Rules and Directive 077 to align with CSA Z662.
Manual 005

The main changes to Manual 005 include:

  • addition of new sections to align with the Pipeline Rules;
  • reorganization of sections by technical subject groups;
  • addition of specified enactments requirements; and
  • update of references to the CSA Z662
Manual 012

The main changes to Manual 012 include:

  • addition of and changes to sections in response to the changes in the Pipeline Rules, Directive 056, Directive 077 and OneStop;
  • renumbering sections to improve clarity; and
  • consolidation of information from frequently asked questions.

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