Canada NEB starts Energy East pipeline review

Friday, June 24, 2016

Canada's National Energy Board has ruled that the applications are complete for the Energy East Pipeline Project and a related gas project.  This determination starts the NEB's review process, under which the Board must issue its recommendations to the Minister of Natural Resources within 21 months.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada's energy industry, including the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest.

As envisioned by proponents TransCanada and Energy East Pipeline Ltd., Energy East would be a 4,500-kilometer pipeline that will transport approximately 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to the refineries of Eastern Canada and a marine terminal in New Brunswick.  Some existing natural gas pipeline would be converted to oil transportation pipeline, while other facilities would be newly built.  The project is motivated in part by a relative surplus of Western Canadian crude production, with relatively few ways to ship that crude to refineries or ports.

The related Eastern Mainline Project entails about 279 kilometers of new gas pipeline and related components, designed to let TransCanada continue to supply gas after the proposed transfer of certain Canadian Mainline facilities to Energy East Pipeline Ltd. for conversion to crude oil service.

On June 16, 2016, the National Energy Board announced its determination that due to the interconnections between the applications, the Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects are more effectively assessed within a single hearing process, with one record, reviewed by one Panel of Board Members.   It also deemed the applications complete to proceed to assessment and a public hearing, starting the 21-month review process.

The Panel must submit a report to the Minister of Natural Resources recommending whether or not the projects should proceed, or on what conditions. This report is due no later than March 16, 2018.  According to the NEB, the process will include hearings, panel sessions, and assessments of the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project.

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