Pipeline Profiles: Enbridge Norman Wells

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated June 2020

The Enbridge Norman Wells pipeline is owned by Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. Norman Wells pipeline is an 868 kilometer pipeline commissioned in 1985 to transport crude oil from Imperial Oil’s facility in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories to Zama in northern Alberta, where it connects with the Alberta oil pipeline network. Pipeline shippers consist of Imperial Oil, as the anchor shipper, and other shippers on the last 29 km of the pipeline.

In November 2016, Enbridge shut down the Norman Wells Pipeline, also known as Line 21, as a preventive measure to investigate and address ground instability on the south slope of the Mackenzie River pipeline crossing near Ft. Simpson, Northwest Territories. In March 2017, Enbridge applied to the Board to replace a 2.5 kilometre section of the pipeline under the Mackenzie River, and to decommission the replaced section of the pipeline. The Canada Energy Regulator held a public hearing for the Line 21 Segment Replacement Project in late 2017. The pipeline was not operatingFootnote 1 from late 2017 to late 2018, but is back in service.

Official CER documents related to the construction, operation and maintenance of the Enbridge NW pipeline can be found here: Enbridge Pipelines (NW) regulatory documents [Folder 140186].

You can see the Enbridge Norman Wells Pipeline and all CER-regulated pipelines on the CER’s Interactive Pipeline Map. The map shows more detailed location information, the products carried by each pipeline, the operating status and more. You can also see a map on Enbridge’s website.

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Pipeline map

Norman Wells pipeline system map

Source: CER

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Norman Wells Pipeline System.

Throughput and capacity

Section updated quarterly (early March, mid-May, mid-August and mid-November)

Select key point:

Select units:

Key Point Map
Key Point Trends
Key Point Description

Note: The physical capacity of a pipeline is based on many factors such as the products being carried, direction of flow, pipeline pumping capacity, and maintenance work or other pressure restrictions. The actual physical capacity of the pipeline may, at times, be higher than the assumed operational capacity stated here.

Dashboard instructions
  • Click on a key point button above the chart & map to view traffic at a different location. The map shows approximate locations on the pipeline where throughputs & capacity are recorded by the pipeline operator.
  • Click and drag your mouse on the area chart to zoom into the desired date range. Click on the Reset Zoom button to reset the full date range.
  • Click on the chart legend items below the chart to remove & add sections of data as required.
  • The key point trends are calculated using quarterly average traffic at the key point. Natural gas throughput trends are displayed year over year (last full quarter of data compared to the same quarter last year). Crude oil and liquids key point trends are displayed quarter over quarter (last full quarter of data compared to the previous quarter).

Note: The five-year average is calculated for natural gas key points using the total throughput across all trade types and direction of flows. For bi-directional key points (both export and import) the throughput is displayed for both directions, instead of the five-year average.

Source and description

Data Source: Open Government

Description: The above dashboard displays pipeline throughput and capacity at key point(s) along the system. Where possible, the five-year average and five-year range for throughput is shown with the current year throughput to better highlight the trends. For pipeline key points with a defined location, a map is displayed next to the graph showing the approximate key point location where pipeline throughput and capacity are recorded.

Apportionment

A shipper must submit nominations each month it wishes to move its oil on a pipeline. Shippers must submit nominations for both committed (or contracted) transportation service, if available, as well as uncommitted transportation service. If the total volume of nominations for uncommitted capacity is more than what is available, the pipeline company must “apportion” the nominations.

Apportionment is the percentage by which each shipper’s nominated volume is reduced in order to match the pipeline’s uncommitted capacity. Generally, apportionment is applied equally across all shippers seeking to use that capacity: for example, if shipper A nominates 100 barrels and shipper B nominates 1 000 barrels, then, under 10% apportionment, shipper A will be able to ship 90 barrels, and shipper B will ship 900 barrels.

The interactive graph below shows data for nominations and apportionment on the pipeline system.

Select units:

Source and description

Data Source: Open Government

Description: The above chart displays pipeline nomination data for the pipeline system. Original nominations are shown as a blue area on the chart, with available pipeline capacity shown as a yellow line. If available, the apportionment percent can be toggled onto the chart as a green line by clicking on “Apportionment Percent” directly below the chart.

Tolls

Section updated June 2020

A toll is the price charged by a pipeline company for transportation and other services. Tolls allow pipeline companies to safely operate and maintain pipelines. Tolls also provide funds for companies to recover capital (the money used to build the pipeline), pay debts, and provide a return to investors. The interactive graph below shows the tolls for key paths on the pipeline since 2007.

Open data can be freely used and shared by anyone for any purpose. The data for these graphs are available.

Tolls on the Norman Wells pipeline are regulated on a complaint basis, based on a cost of service methodology. The cost of service is calculated according to the Norman Wells Pipeline Amending Agreement approved by the National Energy Board in 1998. Year-end adjustments are based on the actual full cost of service and throughput for a specific year. Enbridge determines its allowable equity return using the formula from the National Energy Board's RH-2-94 decision. Significant toll increases are attributed to decreasing throughput and increased integrity spending.

Official CER documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Norman Wells can be found here: Enbridge Norman Wells toll documents [Folder 305098].

Abandonment funding

Section updated June 2020

The CER requires pipeline companies to set aside funds to safely cease operations of a pipeline at the end of its useful life. In 2016, Enbridge estimated it would cost $45 million to do this for Enbridge Norman Wells. These funds will be collected over 11 years and are being set aside in a trust.

Table 1: Enbridge Norman Wells abandonment trust fund balance
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Trust fund balance ($) 3 800 000 7 908 000 7 900 000 8 858 000 13 077 000

Official CER documents related to abandonment funding can be found here, sorted by year and by company: abandonment funding documents [Folder 3300366].

Pipeline financial information

Financial resource requirements

Section updated June 2020

The Canadian Energy Regulator Act requires major oil pipeline companies to set aside $1 billion to pay for the costs of any incident that occurs, such as a spill. See sections 136 to 142 of the Act for more information. Enbridge Inc., parent company of Enbridge Pipeline (NW) Inc., demonstrated that it has financial resources in excess of $1 billion dollars. Official CER documents related to the Enbridge’s financial resource requirements documents [Folder 2955535].

Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. financial information

Section updated June 2020

Pipeline companies report important financial information to the CER quarterly or annually. A strong financial position enables pipeline companies to maintain their pipeline systems, attract capital to build new infrastructure, and meet the market’s evolving needs. The data in this table come from cost of service reports [Folder 305601] filed with the CER.

Note: The pipeline was shut down from late 2017 to late 2018. Therefore cost of service data are not available for 2018.

Table 2: Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. financial data
Enbridge Pipelines (NW) Inc. financial data 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Cost of service (million $) 32 75 47 65 69 62 62 55 n/a 58
Rate base (million $) 113 109 110 141 162 151 128 102 n/a 157
Return on equity (%) 8.46 8.08 7.58 7.23 7.93 7.64 7.38 6.86 n/a 7.44
Deemed equity(%) 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 n/a 50
Corporate financial information

Section updated June 2020

The Enbridge Norman Wells pipeline is part of Enbridge Inc. In 2017, earnings from the Norman Wells pipeline accounted for less than 2% of Enbridge Inc. profits.

Credit ratings provide an idea of the financial strength of a company, including its ability to attract capital to build new infrastructure and meet financial obligations. The credit ratings below are expert opinions of how likely the debt issuer is to live up to its obligations.

Table 3: Enbridge Inc.’s credit ratings
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
DBRS credit rating A (low) A (low) A (low) BBB (high) BBB (high) BBB (high) BBB (high) BBB (high) BBB (high)
Moody's credit rating Baa1 Baa1 Baa1 Baa2 Baa2 Baa2 Baa3 Baa2 Baa2
S&P credit rating BBB+ BBB+ BBB+ BBB+ BBB+ BBB+
Financial regulatory audits

Section updated June 2020

The CER audits pipeline companies to confirm compliance with the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, regulations, CER orders and CER decisions. Financial regulatory audits focus on toll and tariff matters such as detecting cross-subsidies. Enbridge (NW)’s last audit was completed in November 2011. Official CER documents related to Enbridge (NW)’s financial regulatory audits can be found here: [Folder 693513].

Safety and Environment

Conditions Compliance

Section updated June 2021

Every pipeline company in Canada must meet federal, provincial or territorial, and local requirements. This includes Acts, Regulations, rules, bylaws, and zoning restrictions. Pipelines are also bound by technical, safety, and environmental standards along with company rules, protocols and management systems. In addition to these requirements, the Commission may add conditions to regulatory instruments that each company must meet. Conditions are project-specific and are designed to protect public and the environment by reducing possible risks identified during the application process.

Condition compliance is part of the CER's oversight and enforcement action is taken when required.

Conditions can be related to a specific region, or apply to the pipeline project as a whole. The map below displays the number of in progress and closed conditions mapped to economic regions as defined by Statistics Canada.

Conditions can typically be either in-progress or closed. The CER follows up on in-progress conditions.

In-Progress

This status refers to conditions that continue to be monitored by the CER. This happens when:

  • condition filings have not yet been received by the CER; or,
  • filings have been received but are under review or do not yet meet requirements; or,
  • a project is not completed and it has conditions, which have not been met; or,
  • a project has a post-construction condition, but a requirement has not yet been completed; or,
  • some conditions may be active indefinitely or refer to the continued operation of a pipeline.
Closed

This status refers to:

  • condition requirements that have been satisfied, and no further submissions from the company are required; or
  • conditions whose filings or actions apply to a specific phase that have been fulfilled as the phase is completed (i.e. a specific filing during construction phase). Note: comments on the required actions can still be received.

Source and description

Data Source: Open Government

Description: The above map displays the number of CER conditions associated with projects approved by the Commission. The map is split into two tabs which show in-progress and closed conditions separately, mapped to an economic region. If a company has no in-progress conditions specific to an economic region, the dashboard will default to show the closed conditions by region. An additional view is available which contains the number of in-progress and closed conditions that don't have a corresponding economic region in the dataset. The map regions are shaded based on the number of conditions, with lighter colored regions containing fewer conditions compared to darker colors. Conditions that apply to more than one region are double counted in the map, and these conditions will appear in the map region total and map region breakdown for each applicable region. The condition counts contained in the map navigation buttons represent total conditions without region double counting.

Open data can be freely used and shared by anyone for any purpose. The data for these graphs are available [CSV].

Have you checked out the CER's interactive conditions data visualization? This tool offers a deep dive into the CER's conditions compliance data and process, exploring conditions across all CER regulated companies by keyword, project, and location.

Pipeline Incidents

Section updated June 2021

The information presented here is based on CER data (2008 to current) for incidents reported under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations and the Processing Plant Regulations. New data is added quarterly. Learn more on how incident data collection has evolved since the NEB (now the CER) was established in 1959.

Companies must report events, such as incidents, to the CER in accordance with the CER Event Reporting Guidelines. Knowing what happened, and why, helps us find ways to prevent them from happening again.

What is an incident? (Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR))

As defined in the OPR, “incident” means an occurrence that results in:

  1. the death or serious injury to a person;
  2. a significant adverse effect on the environment;
  3. an unintended fire or explosion;
  4. an unintended or uncontained release of low vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 m³
  5. an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas or high vapour pressure (HVP) hydrocarbons;
  6. the operation of a pipeline beyond its design limits as determined under CSA Z662 or CSA Z276 or any operating limits imposed by the CER.
What is an incident? (Processing Plant Regulations (PPR))

As defined in the PPR, “incident” is defined as an occurrence that results or could result in a significant adverse effect on property, the environment, or the safety of persons. For the purposes of incident reporting in the PPR, events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  1. the death or serious injury to a person;
  2. a significant adverse effect on the environment;
  3. an unintended fire or explosion that results in or has the potential to result in damage to company, public/crown or personal property;
  4. an unintended or uncontained release of low vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 m³
  5. an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas, HVP hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide or other poisonous gas; or
  6. the operation of a plant beyond its design limits or any limits imposed by the CER.
Incidents and the CER

Companies self-report incidents and are expected to take a precautionary approach in doing so. This means that even when there is doubt as to whether an incident should be reported, the company must report it. The approach is, “When in doubt, report.” This is consistent with CER-regulated companies’ responsibility for anticipating, preventing, mitigating and managing incidents of any size or duration.

The CER reviews all reported incidents to assess whether companies have taken the appropriate corrective actions and to identify potential trends in incidents. Each incident is given a status indicating the current stage of the CER's incident review.

CER Status
  • Initially Submitted: The company has notified the CER that an incident has occurred and provided preliminary information. A review has been initiated.
  • Submitted: The company has submitted all of the required information and the CER is reviewing the incident.
  • Closed: The CER’s incident review has been completed and the file is closed.
Incident type definitions: one incident can have multiple types
  • Release of Substance (featured in the dashboard) - Any time a product is unintentionally released. (Releases of non-gas low pressure products in volumes of less than 1.5 m³ are exempt from reporting.)
  • Adverse Environmental Effects - When any chemical substance is released at a concentration or volume that has the potential to change the ambient environment in a manner that would cause harm to human life, wildlife or vegetation (e.g., glycol, potassium carbonate, methanol, methanol mix from hydrostatic testing, etc.).
  • Explosion - An unintended explosion
  • Fatality - Any death involving employees, contractors or members of the public related to the construction, operation, maintenance or abandonment of pipelines
  • Fire - An unintended fire
  • Operation Beyond Design Limits Includes situations, such as:

    • over-pressures - i.e., pressures that are higher than the maximum the equipment was designed to safely handle;
    • vibration beyond design limits;
    • slope movements causing movement in the pipeline beyond design limits;
    • pipe exposures in rivers or streams; and
    • introduction of an inappropriate product (e.g., sour gas in excess of CSA limits)

    Operation beyond design limit is typically linked to an over-pressure of the product in the pipe; however, if a pipe was exposed to excessive vibration and was not designed for this, this could be considered operation beyond design limits. Operation beyond design limits does not include equipment contacting the pipe, or corrosion pits, etc.

  • Serious Injury (CER or Transportation Safety Board) - Any serious injury involving employees, contractors or members of the public related to the construction, operation or maintenance of pipelines.
Are there any incidents near me?
Select range (100km):
Source and description

Data Source: Open Government

Description: The above map displays the location of product release incidents that have occured on the pipeline system since 2008. The map defaults to show incidents as bubbles which are colored based on the substance released. Incidents on the map can be re-categorized based on the most recently available status of the CER's incident review, the year in which the incident was reported, and the province/territory where the incident occured. The incident map bubble can be switched to show the estimated volume of product released, with larger map bubbles showing larger release volumes relative to other product releases on the system. The incident data can also be toggled to display a stacked bar chart of incidents over time by clicking on the incident trends button above the map. The stacked bars dispaly the number of product release incidents by year, with bar color segments corresponding to the various products released. Similiar to the map, incidents can be re-categorized by clicking on the side buttons to view a breakdown of incidents by status, what happened, why it happened, and province/territory.

Open data can be freely used and shared by anyone for any purpose. The data for these graphs are available.

Have you checked out the CER's interactive incident data visualization? This tool offers a deep dive into the CER's incident data trends, exploring incidents across all CER regulated companies.

Emergency management

Section updated June 2020

The CER checks to make sure companies are keeping pipelines safe by doing inspections, in-depth safety audits, and other activities. Yet, even with these precautions, an emergency could still happen. Sound emergency management practices improve public safety and environmental protection outcomes, and provide for more effective emergency response.

The CER holds its regulated companies responsible for anticipating, preventing, mitigating, and managing incidents of any size or duration. Each company must have an emergency management program that includes detailed emergency procedures manuals to guide its response in an emergency situation. We oversee the emergency management program of a regulated company’s projects as long as they operate.

The CER requires companies to publish information on their emergency management program and their emergency procedures manuals on their websites so Canadians can access emergency management information. To view Enbridge Norman Wells’ regional Integrated Contingency Plan, go to Enbridge’s Field Emergency Response Plans website, where its plans are organized by area of operation.

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