Pipeline Profiles: PKM Cochin

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated June 2020

The Cochin Pipeline receives condensate from the Explorer, TEPPCO and Wabash pipelines at its Kankakee, Illinois, terminal and delivers it to Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. At Fort Saskatchewan, the Cochin Pipeline connects with several terminals and pipelines that are used to store and deliver condensate to oil sands production sites in Alberta.

The Cochin Pipeline commenced operations in 1979. Cochin originally moved products (solely propane in recent years) eastward from Fort Saskatchewan to Windsor, Ontario. In March 2014, the direction of flow on the segment of the Cochin Pipeline from Kankakee, Illinois, to Fort Saskatchewan was reversed to transport condensate westbound. The reversed pipeline started operations in July 2014.

In May 2016, the Board granted leave for Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC to sell to Kinder Morgan Utopia ULC the Eastern Portion of the Cochin Pipeline in Canada from the international border near Detroit, Michigan, to Windsor, Ontario. In November 2017 the Governor in Council amended the authorization for the Cochin Pipeline reflecting removal of the Canadian Eastern Portion of the Cochin Pipeline.

The Eastern Portion of the Cochin Pipeline in Canada now operates as the Canadian portion of the Utopia Pipeline. The pipeline went into service in January 2018 delivering ethane from Harrison County, Ohio to Windsor, Ontario. The U.S. portion of the Utopia project consists of a new pipeline from a point in Harrison County, Ohio to a connection with existing Kinder Morgan pipeline and facilities near Riga, Michigan. The initial capacity of the Utopia Pipeline is 50 000 barrels per day (b/d), which is expandable to more than 75 000 b/d.

Pipeline map

Cochin pipeline system map

Source: CER

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Cochin Pipeline.

In December 2019 Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC, the owner of the pipeline, changed its name to PKM Cochin ULC.

Official CER documents related to the construction, operation and maintenance of the Cochin Pipeline can be found here: Cochin pipeline regulatory documents [Folder 457425].

You can see Cochin 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 view a map on Kinder Morgan’s website.

Throughput and capacity

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

Note: The physical capacity of a pipeline is based on many factors such as the direction of flow, ambient temperature, pipeline compression, and maintenance work or other pressure restrictions. The operational capacity at each key point may also reflect contracts for transportation service, and supply and demand across the system. The actual physical capacity of the pipeline may, at times, be higher than the assumed operational capacity stated here.

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


Section updated June 2020

A shipper must submit nominations each month to 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 Express Pipeline.

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


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 tolls on key paths on the pipeline since 2014.

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

Cochin has been regulated on a complaint basis since 1986. Cochin provides condensate service to committed shippers from Kankakee County, Illinois; Clinton, Iowa; and Masback, North Dakota based on international joint tolls. Cochin reserves 10% of its capacity for uncommitted service with an uncommitted toll for local Canadian shipments and an international joint toll for shipments originating in the United States. Committed tolls vary according to the volume of condensate that a shipper commits to the Pipeline. Official CER documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Cochin Pipeline can be found here: PKM Cochin toll filings [Folder 3901918]

Previous filings are available here:

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 2016, the owner of the pipeline estimated it would cost approximately $28 million to do this. These funds will be collected from shippers over a period of 19.5 years and are being set aside in a trust.

Table 1: Kinder Morgan Cochin abandonment trust fund balance
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Trust fund balance ($) 1 681 892 3 191 760 4 983 000 6 859 769 8 808 687

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. Kinder Morgan Cochin has demonstrated that it has financial resources in excess of $300 million dollars. Official CER documents related to Cochin’s financial resources can be found here: Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC financial resource requirements documents [Folder 2985182]

Cochin Pipeline financial information

Section updated June 2020

Pipeline companies report important financial information to the CER quarterly or annually. A strong 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 CER’s quarterly filings with the CER [Folder 472902].

Table 2: Cochin Pipeline financial data
  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Revenues (million $) 23 40 26 19 30 50 54 53 55 61
Rate base (million $) 84 81 76 74 107 146 155 161 157 140
Return on rate base (%) 5.75 5.75 5.75 5.75 5.75 8.25 8.25 8.25 8.25 8.25

Cochin is allowed to earn a return of 5.75% to 8.25% on its rate base. It earned the minimum return from 2010 to 2014. Since 2015 (the first full year of condensate service) it realized the maximum allowable return each year.

Corporate financial information

Section updated June 2020

The Cochin Pipeline is owned and operated by PKM Cochin ULC. PKM is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pembina Pipeline Corporation.

Credit ratings provide an indication 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: Kinder Morgan Canada Limited and Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC's credit ratings
  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
DBRS credit rating Not rated BBB (high) BBB (high) BBB BBB
S&P credit rating 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. Cochin’s last audit was completed on 24 July 2019. Official CER documents related to Cochin’s financial regulatory audits can be found here: [Folder 558655]

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 Cochin must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC”.

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 third-party activities that happen without the pipeline company’s written consent. For a summary of pipeline incidents and unauthorized activities on the Cochin pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC”.

Emergency management

Section updated June 2020Yeah

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 Cochin’s emergency response information, see the company’s Spill Response Plan.

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