Canadian government approves Northern Gateway pipeline

Canada’s federal government approved Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway crude oil pipeline project as long as it meets 209 conditions a joint review panel imposed in December.

“Today constitutes another step in the process,” Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said in announcing the decision on June 17. “Moving forward, the proponent must demonstrate to the independent regulator, the [National Energy Board], how it will meet the 209 conditions. It will also have to apply for regulatory permits and authorizations from federal and provincial governments.”

Rickford said, “In addition, consultations with Aboriginal communities are required under many of the 209 conditions that have been established and as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits. The proponent clearly has more work to do in order to fulfill the public commitment it has made to engage with Aboriginal groups and local communities along the route.”

Enbridge Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said the Calgary oil and gas transmission company and its partners welcomed the decision. “The Joint Review Panel recommendation and the [Governor in Council] approval are important milestones and reflect years of work by all stakeholders,” he said, adding, “However, we have more work ahead of us. The decision is one more step in the process that requires a considered and respectful approach with our stakeholders.”

Monaco said Enbridge now will focus on three priorities: meeting the JRP’s conditions, working with the British Columbia government on its five conditions for supporting oil pipelines, “and continuing to engage Aboriginal communities to build further trust and seek additional input that would make the project even better.”

The project’s opponents vowed it will never be built. “Just like Keystone XL, the Northern Gateway pipeline faces widespread opposition from the people whose land, water, and livelihoods would be threatened by the prospect of a disastrous tar sands spill,” said Tzeporah Berman, a Canadian author and environmentalist. “Regardless of the Harper administration’s approval, that opposition is only growing stronger.”

Proposed in 2010

Northern Gateway Pipelines LP (NGPLP) originally proposed in 2010 construction of two parallel pipelines to transport 525,000 b/d of heavy crude and 193,000 b/d of condensate 1,107 km from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, BC, where a marine terminal would be constructed. It submitted its plan to the NEB for a regulatory review and environmental assessment at that time.

Canada’s environment minister and the NEB then established the JRP to evaluate the project. It received feedback from more than 1,450 participants in 21 different communities, reviewed more than 175,000 pages of evidence, and received 9,000 letters of comment, according to Natural Resources Canada.

“In December 2013, the [JRP] found that construction and operation of the Northern Gateway Pipelines project is in the public interest, subject to 209 conditions being met by the proponent,” Rickford said. “After carefully reviewing the report, the government accepts the independent panel’s recommendation to impose 209 conditions on Northern Gateway Pipelines’ proposal.”

NEB now will issue certificates of public convenience and necessity, but the project’s sponsor still must obtain its approval of the detailed pipeline route and final right-of-way. As part of this process, NGPLP must provide written notice in a newspaper and notify all landowners with acreage to be acquired. NEB will hold hearings within 30 days on the detailed route in affected areas to consider objections and concerns.

Simultaneously, NGPLP will seek various regulatory approvals from the federal, Alberta, and British Columbia governments, according to Natural Resources Canada.

Monaco emphasized Enbridge’s commitment to world-class safety and environmental standards for the project. “Northern Gateway is benefiting greatly from the input and engagement of communities along the right-of-way, Aboriginal communities, and numerous technical experts,” he said. “Today’s decision and the work of the JRP confirm that the project can be built and operated safely, and that it's in Canada's national interest.”

West Coast alternative

Northern Gateway and KN Energy Inc.’s proposed expansion of its pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, BC, represent significant alternatives for Canadian producers if TransCanada Corp. is unable to obtain a cross-border permit for Keystone XL. “We feel victimized by US regulations, especially in that case,” Rob Merrifield, a Conservative member of Canada’s House of Commons from Alberta, said in Washington on June 17 during the Canadian American Business Council’s North America: Fueling the Future conference.

“[Keystone XL’s] approval process has gone on for 6 years now because politics has trumped science,” Merrifield noted. “I don’t think it’s about energy and the environment. I think there’s another political agenda.”

US Rep. Bill Owens (D-NY), who was on the same panel, applauded US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and member Gene Green (D-Tex.) for introducing legislation that would standardize US approval processes for cross-border energy projects. He also predicted that the US Senate likely would not take up the bill if the House approves it.

“Given the nature of the two houses, I don’t think it will be considered,” said Owens. “We don’t have a body of people we trust scientifically who can reliable provide us information, facts, and recommendations.” He added that he favors Keystone XL as a long-term US supply source if Saudi Arabia and other Middle East producers ship more of their crude into Asian markets.

Monaco said Northern Gateway would be the first approved pipeline project enabling Canada to diversify its crude oil markets and achieve full market value pricing.

“It will mean a major boost to our provincial and national economies,” he said. “It will create jobs and result in new tax revenues for communities and governments to support social programs and infrastructure. Importantly, Northern Gateway will involve Aboriginal communities as owners and partners in the project, and it provides meaningful training, job, and business opportunities in communities along the right-of-way.”

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

Keyera to take majority interest in Alberta gas plant

12/12/2014 Keyera Corp., Calgary, will pay $65 million (Can.) to buy a 70.79% ownership interest in the Ricinus deep-cut gas plant in west-central Alberta.

PBF Energy, PBF Logistics make management changes

12/12/2014 Matthew Lucey, currently executive vice-president of PBF Energy Inc., will succeed Michael Gayda as the company’s president. Todd O’Malley, current...

TAEP: TPI still peaking, but ‘contraction unavoidable’ as oil prices fall

12/12/2014 The Texas Petro Index (TPI), a composite index based on a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators released by the Texas Alliance of Ene...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price extends slump

12/12/2014 Crude oil prices extended their slump on the New York market with a Dec. 11 settlement of less than $60/bbl for January, and prices continued downw...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Rosneft, Essar sign terms of oil supply agreement

12/11/2014 OAO Rosneft and Essar Energy PLC have signed key terms of an oil supply agreement in New Delhi. Rosneft said shipments to India may begin in 2015.

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits


US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts

On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.



Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected