FAQ - Best Available Technology

Background:

As Canada’s energy regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB or Board) ensures that engineering, safety and environmental requirements are met. The Board also performs audits and inspects the construction and operation of pipelines.

The NEB has been asked to provide guidance, through a study and subsequent report, to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Honourable Jim Carr, on the use of best available technologies (BAT) for federally-regulated pipelines. As part of the study, the NEB will engage with stakeholders with relevant technical expertise and knowledge on BAT.

Questions:

  1. Can the Minister of NRCan make such a request to the NEB?
  2. What will be the process for producing the report?
  3. How will you choose your list of experts and will that list be made public?
  4. When will the report be completed?
  5. Is the NEB being given additional funding to produce the report?
  6. Have we been asked to produce reports such as this in the past - if so when?

1. Can the Minister of NRCan make such a request to the NEB?

Yes. The NEB has advisory functions under Part II of the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act) which outlines that the NEB will prepare such studies and reports that the Minister requests. Specifically, section 26(2) of the NEB Act states: “The Board must provide the Minister, upon request, studies and reports regarding energy matters, sources of energy, the safety and security of pipelines and international power lines.”

On 5 February 2015, the Chair of the NEB received a letter from the Minister requesting that the Board undertake a study and provide a report on the use of best available technologies used in federally-regulated pipelines.

2. What will be the process for producing the report?

While the NEB has extensive knowledge in pipeline safety, the Minister’s request asks the NEB to engage with experts outside the organization. As a result, we plan to consult stakeholders to gather information and feedback. Through this dialogue process, we will collect information on new and existing technologies, and develop an understanding of how they are being advanced to drive improvements in safety and environmental performance. The areas we will be focusing on for the study include:

  • Construction methods;
  • Materials;
  • Emergency response techniques;
  • Emerging technological developments; and
  • Environmental considerations.

The information collected is what will be used to produce the final report to the Minister.

3. How will you choose your list of experts and will that list be made public?

We will determine the list of experts through consultation with our technical staff, engagement with industry, and industry associations.

4. When will the report be completed?

The deadline for the NEB to submit the report to the Minister of Natural Resources is 30 September 2016.

5. Is the NEB being given additional funding to produce the report?

No additional funding will be allocated for this request from the Minister. It is a part of the NEB’s expected operational function.

6. Have we been asked to produce reports such as this in the past - if so when?

The NEB has previously completed reports requested by the Minister of Natural Resources as part of its work under the NEB Act. A recent example is the Minister of Natural Resources’ request for a review of propane market issues. The NEB collaborated with the Competition Bureau to complete the review in 2014. Another example is from 2006 when the NEB provided advice to the Minister of Natural Resources on the delegation of authority over some interprovincial pipelines in 2006.

Date modified: