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NEB welcomes legislation changes

Published by
World Pipelines,

On 19 June, the Pipeline Safety Act came into force, making important changes to the National Energy Board Act, and to some extent the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.

The National Energy Board (NEB) welcomes these changes which enhance the regulatory toolkit.The most significant changes to the Act relate to absolute liability and financial resource requirements, abandonment, pipeline releases, damage prevention, as well as audit and enforcement powers. Some of the specific changes resulting from the new legislation include:

  • NEB-regulated companies operating pipelines that have the capacity to transport at least 250 000 bpd of oil will now be liable for all costs and damages for an unintended release, up to CAN$1 billion, regardless of fault. The remaining pipeline companies under NEB jurisdiction will have absolute liability limits set through regulations.
  • New regulations for damage prevention have been made, which lay out the obligations of those planning construction of facilities, ground disturbance activities or vehicle or mobile equipment crossings in the area of an NEB-regulated pipeline, as well as the obligations of pipeline companies.
  • The NEB’s jurisdiction has been expanded to provide oversight of pipelines post-abandonment. Companies will remain liable for post-abandonment costs and damages. It also provides the NEB with new powers for Inspection Officers, and new authority to assume control of an abandonment or abandoned pipeline if a company is not complying with a board order.
  • The Governor in Council has been provided the authority, in the event of a pipeline release, to ‘designate’ a company if it either does not have the ability to pay for the release, or does not comply with a board order, and for the NEB to take over spill response.

Peter Watson, Chair and CEO of the NEB, stated: “These legislative changes enhance and strengthen our mandate to provide lifecycle oversight of federally regulated pipelines, from construction through abandonment.”

Edited from source by Stephanie Roker

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