Pipeline Profiles: Express Pipeline

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated June 2020

Express Pipeline Ltd. owns the Canadian portion of the Express Pipeline. The Express Pipeline transports light, medium, heavy and super-heavy crude oil from western Canada to refineries in the U.S. Rockies region. The main receipt point is located in Hardisty, Alberta. The main delivery point is located in Casper, Wyoming. The Canadian and U.S. portions of the Express Pipeline connect at the Canada/U.S. border near Wild Horse, Alberta.

The U.S. portion of the Express Pipeline is owned and operated by Express Pipeline LLC and is regulated by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In Casper, the Express Pipeline connects with the Platte Pipeline, which transports crude oil to refineries in U.S. Midwest. The Platte Pipeline terminates in Wood River, Illinois.

The Express Pipeline commenced operations in 1997. At the end of 2017, CER-regulated assets included 439 km of pipeline and various auxiliary infrastructure. Capacity of the Express Pipeline is 44 801 cubic metres per day (280 000 barrels per day).

In May 2015 the CER approved the construction of an additional storage tank at Express’ existing crude oil storage facility in Hardisty, Alberta.

Official CER documents related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Express Pipeline are available: Express Pipeline Ltd. regulatory documents (facilities) [Folder 92264].

You can see the Express 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.

Pipeline map

Express pipeline system map

Source: CER

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Express Pipeline.

Nomination and Verification Procedures

Section updated June 2020

Pipeline tariffs specify the procedures by which shippers are to submit nominations for transportation service, including the form and timing of nominations. The tariffs also set out the rights and authorities of pipeline companies to verify nominations. The NEB regulates and determines compliance with tariffs for pipelines under its jurisdiction, which include the major export pipelines from western Canada. Pipeline companies and shippers are required to follow the rules and regulations of transportation service as set out in the tariffs.

On the Express Pipeline volumes must be verified by the connecting upstream facility. The majority of throughputs on Express Pipeline flow through the interconnected Platte Pipeline in the United States. Platte allocates its capacity to shippers before Express conducts its own allocation procedures. Pursuant to the delivery verification procedures in the Express Pipeline tariff, the allocations on the Platte Pipeline limit the nominations that are accepted for each shipper on the Express Pipeline.


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 benchmark tolls on the Express Pipeline (uncommitted toll) for pipeline transportation from Hardisty, Alberta to the Canada/U.S. border interconnect with the U.S. portion of Express Pipeline, near Wild Horse, Alberta.

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

Express Pipeline Ltd. is subject to Group 2 financial regulation and tolls on the Express Pipeline are regulated by the CER on a complaint basis.

Official CER documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Express Pipeline are available: Express Pipeline Ltd. regulatory documents [Folder 172404].

Abandonment funding

Section updated June 2020

The CER requires all pipelines to set aside funds to safely cease operation of a pipeline at the end of its useful life. In 2011, Express Pipeline Ltd. estimated it would cost $44.3 million to do this for the Express Pipeline. In 2018, it updated this estimate to $99.3 million. These funds are being collected over 40 years and set aside in a trust.

Table 1: Express Pipeline abandonment trust fund balance
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Trust fund balance ($) 1 025 404 2 165 590 4 088 520 5 269 824 7 347 224

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 oil pipeline companies to set aside funds 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. Express Pipeline has demonstrated that it has financial resources in excess of $300 million. Official CER documents can be found here: Express Pipeline Ltd. financial resource requirements documents [Folder 2949289].

Express Pipeline’s financial information

Section updated June 2020

Pipeline companies report important financial information to the CER quarterly or annually. A solid financial position enables companies to maintain their pipeline systems, attract capital to build new infrastructure, and meet the market’s evolving needs. The data in this table comes from Express Pipeline Ltd.’s audited financial statements [Folder 365199].

Table 2: Express Pipeline’s financial information
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Revenues (million $) 51.6 56.0 61.2 70.8 92.1 101.9 110.0 118.6 125.7
Expenses (million $) 36.4 35.3 41.0 41.9 50.7 48.0 63.8 59.2 58.8
Net income (million $) 9.2 17.1 13.2 20.1 30.1 52.1 61.0 53.0 64.3
Assets (million $) 389.5 174.5 188.9 201.6 204.6 216.8 200.9 217.3 253.0
Corporate financial information

Section updated June 2020

Express Pipeline Ltd. is a subsidiary of Spectra Energy Partners LP, which is a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. (Enbridge). Enbridge is an energy transportation, distribution, and renewable power generation company. Enbridge assets include crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines, renewable power generation, as well as natural gas distribution utilities in British Columbia, Ontario, and New Brunswick. The company is headquartered in Calgary, Canada. In February 2017, Enbridge acquired Spectra Energy Corp. Prior to February 2017, Express Pipeline Ltd. was a subsidiary of Spectra Energy Partners, LP.

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 whether the company has complied with all CER regulations, toll orders and other accounting, reporting and toll and tariff matters. Express Pipeline Ltd.’s last audit was completed on 27 March 2009.

Official CER documents related to Express Pipeline Ltd.’s financial regulatory audits are available: Express Pipeline Ltd.’s regulatory documents (financial regulatory audits) [Folder 552063].

Condition compliance

Section updated June 2020

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 CER may add conditions to regulatory instruments that each company must meet. Condition compliance is monitored by the CER and enforcement action is taken when required. For a detailed list of conditions that Express must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Express Pipeline Ltd.”

Safety performance

Section updated June 2020

The CER holds the companies it regulates accountable to protect the safety of Canadians and the environment. As part of this accountability, companies must report to the CER events such as incidents and unauthorized activities that happen without the pipeline company’s written consent. For a summary of pipeline incidents and unauthorized activities on the Express Pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Express Pipeline Ltd.”

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 Express’ 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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