TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. - Keystone XL Pipeline

Latest Updates

  • April 22, 2010 – Governor in Council directs the NEB to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity [document 614192]
  • March 11, 2010 – NEB approves Keystone XL Pipeline Project

What’s Next?

Although the Keystone XL Pipeline Project does not require any further permits from the NEB, the company must obtain any applicable provincial or other permitting agencies’ permits, approvals or authorizations, if any are required.

There are also a number of steps that must be completed before oil begins to flow on the pipeline.

The NEB has imposed 22 conditions on this project that strengthen public safety, protection of the environment, and ensure continued consultation between the company, landowners and Indigenous peoples. You can read more about the conditions TransCanada Keystone must meet and how the NEB verifies compliance with these conditions here.

One of the conditions attached to the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for this project says:  Unless the Board otherwise directs prior to 11 March 2011, this Certificate shall expire on 11 March 2011 unless construction in respect of the Project has commenced by that date.

The company has begun construction on the project and has met this condition. In 2012, the company completed two horizontal directional drill (HDD) crossings of the Red Deer River and the South Saskatchewan River in southern Alberta. The HDD technique involves boring under the bottom of the water body and stringing the pipe through.

Approximately four kilometres of the Keystone XL pipeline has been constructed. The company also built some construction access roads and three crude oil storage tanks at the Hardisty, Alberta Terminal.

The NEB regulates pipeline projects for their entire lifecycle. If the Keystone XL Project is built, the NEB will be there to make sure that the project is safe and meets the conditions and commitments attached to its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

Project Information

On February 27, 2009 TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. applied [Filing A21262] to the NEB to build and operate the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Canadian portion of the pipeline would stretch for 529 kilometres from Hardisty, Alberta to the Canada/US border at Monchy, Saskatchewan.

The 914 millimetre outside diameter or nominal pipe size 36 pipeline would ship approximately 111 300 m³/d (700,000 barrels per day) of crude oil. The pipeline was designed to be expandable to 143 100 m³/d (900,000 barrels per day).

The project will also include an initiating pump station, three 55,600 m³ (350,000 barrels) operational tanks, associated manifold piping and other related facilities at the Hardisty Terminal. Downstream of Hardisty, there would be seven pump stations and associated facilities. This project would require approximately 50 km of new right-of-way.

The Keystone XL Pipeline would be an addition to Base Keystone, a pipeline which already runs from Hardisty, AB to Haskett, Manitoba. The Base Keystone Pipeline was approved by the NEB in 2007 and began operation in 2010. The Base Keystone system includes the Keystone Pipeline and the Cushing expansion, which went into operation in 2014. The Base Keystone pipeline, together with the Keystone XL Project, is referred to as the Keystone system.

Pipeline Route

 
Map of Keystone XL plus Keystone plus Cushing expansion
 

View larger PDF version [PDF 98 KB]

 

NEB Hearing Process and Decision

The National Energy Board carried out a rigorous, science-based and thorough review of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. We received the application for the project on February 27, 2009. At the time, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. (Keystone), the project applicant, indicated that they intended to begin building the pipeline in 2010 and planned to have the pipeline in service by late 2012.

We issued a Hearing Order [Document 556574] on May 12, 2009. The Hearing Order sets out the steps for the oral public hearing. Anyone who wanted to become an intervenor in the hearing was required to apply to the NEB by June 9, 2009.

We received 30 applications to participate in the hearing as an intervenor, including five that were late. We approved all but one application for intervenor status, for a total of 29 intervenors.

In the Hearing Order, asked pwearticipants to suggest any amendments to the List of Issues by June 9, 2009. The List of Issues includes the topics that the Board would focus on during the hearing. Four intervenors provided comments on seven different issues. As a result of these comments, when the NEB issued the final List of Issues (page 93 of 168) [Filing A24669] on June 19, 2009, we amended the list to include: Potential impacts of the Project on Aboriginal interests.

At the same time that we requested comments from hearing participants on the List of Issues, we also asked for comments on the draft scope of the environmental assessment. We received comments from Transport Canada and revised the scope of the environmental assessment as a result.

As part of our review, we conducted an environmental assessment of the project, as required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEA Act). Since this project included less than 75 kilometres of new Right of Way, as defined in the CEA Act Comprehensive Study List Regulations, we carried out a screening level environmental assessment. The Environmental Screening Report (page 122 of 168) [Document 604637] is included in our Reasons for Decision [Folder 604441]. Chapter 10 of the Reasons for Decision includes further discussion on environmental matters.

Hearing Participants also had the opportunity to submit written information requests to the applicant and to other intervenors. Information requests allow intervenors to test evidence through written questions.

Before we held the oral portion of the hearing, we asked participants if they would prefer to present their interests in Calgary, AB or Saskatoon, SK. Based on their response, we held the oral hearing in Calgary from September 15 – 18, 2009, September 21 to 25, 2009 and October 1 – 2, 2009, for a total of 11 hearing days. The transcripts from the oral hearing [Folder 570526] are available on our website.

After careful consideration of the evidence, the NEB approved the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, subject to 22 conditions, on March 11, 2010.

Governor-in-Council directed the NEB to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity on April 22, 2010. This certificate is available on our website [Document 614192].

Key Hearing Milestones

  • April 22, 2010 – Governor in Council directs the NEB to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity [Document 614192]
  • March 11, 2010 – NEB approves the Keystone XL Pipeline Project [Folder 604441], subject to 22 conditions
  • September 15 – 18, 2009; September 21 – 25, 2009; October 1 – 2, 2009 – NEB holds oral hearing [Folder 570526] in Calgary, AB
  • June 19, 2009 – NEB releases revised List of Issues after gathering public comments and List of Parties [Folder 560808]
  • May 12, 2009 – June 9, 2009 – Apply to participate as an Intervenor
  • May 12, 2009 – NEB issues Hearing Order OH-1-2009 [Document 614192]
  • February 27, 2009 – TransCanada Keystone files a project application with the NEB [Folder 556487]
  • July 18, 2008 – TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. (Keystone) files a Preliminary Information Package [Document 417885] with the NEB

Hearing Documents

During the National Energy Board's review of this project, the evidence, letters of comment, Board decisions and other relevant documents were filed with the National Energy Board and placed on the Board's online document repository [Folder 550305]. These documents are accessible to the public.

Lifecycle Regulation

While most Canadians only hear about the NEB’s involvement at the beginning of projects, it actually regulates Canada’s federal energy infrastructure throughout its entire lifecycle. We do not simply make a decision on a project and walk away. When approved projects are being built and operated, we inspect and audit them. When a pipeline has reached the end of its usefulness, we hold a hearing to review abandonment applications to ensure that it is abandoned in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

In other words, the NEB regulates from “start to finish”, which can span the course of many decades. And we hold pipeline companies responsible for the full lifecycle of the pipelines they operate.

Here is the lifecycle of a regulated facility, showing the NEB’s involvement at each phase:

NEB Lifecycle Regulation

View larger PDF version [PDF 6815 KB]

Text version of this graphic

NEB oversight throughout the lifecycle: Regulations – Conditions – Inpections – Audits – Enforcement.
NEB requires companies to consult throughout the entire lifecycle, with those potentially affected.

  • Planning
  • Application to Construct and Operate
  • NEB Public Hearing Decision/Recommendation
  • Construction
  • NEB Decision on Safe Operation
  • Application for Leave to Open
  • Operation and Maintenance
  • Application to Abandon
  • NEB Public Hearing Decision
  • Abandonment

Project Requirements and Conditions

Conditions are legal requirements that a company must meet to be allowed to construct and operate a project. Conditions are project-specific and are designed to protect the public and the environment by reducing possible risks identified during the hearing.

Most of the conditions attached to the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and the associated Orders require TransCanada Keystone to file documentation with the Board to demonstrate compliance. In some cases, the Board will need to review and approve the documentation before TransCanada Keystone can move forward. You can review these documents and any related NEB correspondence here [Folder 609772].

Conditions may require a company to submit documentation such as:

  • results of additional environmental and socio-economic assessments, species-specific studies, or traditional land use investigations;
  • engineering design details, and supporting assessments or information;
  • environmental protection plans;
  • mitigation and monitoring documentation;
  • construction schedules and progress reports; and
  • employee training programs and manuals.

The NEB evaluates the information provided by the company against the specific requirements that must be met for each condition and follows up with the company if more information is needed.

The NEB evaluates the information provided by the company against the specific requirements that must be met for each condition and follows up with the company if more information is needed.

NEB Oversight

Throughout the lifecycle of the pipelines it regulates, the NEB uses Compliance Verification Activities to observe and gather information about the state of compliance in a specific area of a company’s operations, or to investigate whether companies are taking the appropriate preventive or corrective actions. Compliance Verification Activities include:

  • inspections (of facilities under construction or in operation)
  • emergency exercise evaluations
  • emergency procedures manuals reviews
  • formal compliance meetings (to check the progress of programs or corrective actions)
  • management system audits
  • reviews of post-construction monitoring reports

These activities are designed to determine if legislation and expectations are being followed, to assess if enforcement is required, and to provide feedback to a company. If a noncompliance is noted, follow-up is undertaken to verify corrective actions have been put in place and to apply appropriate enforcement actions if necessary.

As part of ongoing oversight of pipelines, companies are required to submit Operatios and Maintenance Notifications, if they meet certain criteria (such as working near bodies of water). Operations and Maintenance Notifications, for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, can be found in the [Folder 961507].

Compliance and Enforcement Documents

Compliance and Enforcement Documents
NEB Action Recipient Region/
Facility
Description Documents
(yyyy-mm-dd)
Board Letter and Order TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. Alberta Field Inspection, Environmental Protection, CVA 1516-431 2016-05-24
Letter and Order
Board Letter and Order TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. (AB) Field Inspection, Environmental Protection, CVA 1516-431 2016-05-24
Letter and Order
Investigation TransCanada PipeLines Limited Calgary (AB) Allegations of non-compliance 2015-10-30
Investigation Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Emergency Management Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Environmental Protection Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Safety Management Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Third Party Crossings Program 2014-03-31
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Public Awareness Program 2014-03-31-24
Audit Report
Operational Audit TransCanada Pipelines Limited Canada Operational Audit – Integrity Management Program 2014-02-24
Audit Report
Board Order TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TransCanada) on behalf of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Limited (Keystone) Portage La Prairie, Rapid City, Moosomin and Richardson (MB, SK) Lack of alternate power source for pump stations 2012-08-17
Letter and Order

News Releases

Contact Information

If you have questions about the project, including whether or not the pipeline will cross your property, please contact TransCanada Keystone at 1-866-717-7473 or via email at Keystone@transcanada.com

Keystone XL: www.keystone-xl.com

Contact Us:

Email: info@neb-one.gc.ca
Toll free: 1-800-899-1265
Fax: 403-292-5503
Toll free fax: 1-877-288-8803
TTY (teletype): 1-800-632-1663

For media inquiries, please contact:

Sarah Kiley
Communications Officer
National Energy Board
E-mail: sarah.kiley@neb-one.gc.ca
Telephone: 403-614-6526

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