Pipeline Profiles: Montreal

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated June 2020

Montreal Pipe Line Limited (MPLL) owns the Montreal Pipeline, which is the CER-regulated segment of the Portland-Montreal pipeline system. The Portland-Montreal pipeline transports crude oil from Maine, U.S. to Quebec, Canada. The U.S. segment of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline system is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The main receipt point is located in South Portland, Maine, and the main delivery point is located in Montreal, Quebec. The pipeline transports crude oil sourced from eastern Canada and international markets to Suncor’s refinery in Montreal, Quebec.

The Montreal Pipeline is comprised of 3 pipelines along the same right-of-way. The largest pipeline (24-inch) is the only line currently in operation, although no oil flowed in the early months of 2018. The other two pipelines (12-inch and 18-inch) were deactivated in 1982 and 2011.

The Montreal Pipeline was placed into service in 1941. At the end of 2017, CER-regulated assets included 236 km of pipeline and auxiliary infrastructure. Capacity of the Montreal Pipeline has decreased over the last several years, because several pumping stations were deactivated. Capacity is approximately 35 450 cubic metres per day (223 000 barrels per day). In 2017, throughputs on the Montreal Pipeline averaged 1 814 cubic metres per day (11 414 barrels per day).

Official CER documents related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Montreal Pipeline are available: Montreal Pipe Line Limited regulatory documents (facilities) [Folder 239003].

Pipeline map

Montreal pipeline system map

Source: CER

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Montreal Pipeline.

You can see the Montreal 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.

Throughput and capacity

Section updated quarterly

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.

The data in this graph come from MPLL’s Monthly Report of Capacity [Folder 357958].

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 the benchmark toll on the Montreal Pipeline for the transportation of crude oil from the interconnect with the U.S. segment of the Portland-Montreal Pipeline system near Highwater, Quebec to Montreal, Quebec.

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

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

Official CER documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Montreal Pipeline are available: Montreal Pipeline toll documents [Folder 304711].

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, MPLL estimated it would cost $19.9 million to do this for the Montreal Pipeline. In 2018, it updated this estimate to $22.8 million. These funds are being collected over 40 years and set aside in a trust.

Table 1: Montreal Pipeline abandonment trust fund balance
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Trust fund balance ($) 649 734 1 511 875 2 221 000 2 973 000 3 886 000

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

Section updated June 2020

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. Montreal Pipe Line has demonstrated that it has financial resources of one billion dollars. Official CER documents related to Plains Midstream Canada’s financial resources can be found here: Montreal Pipe Line Limited financial resource requirements documents [Folder 2949727].

Montreal 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 when required, and meet the market’s evolving needs.

The data in this table comes from MPLL’s Audited Financial Statements [Folder 357958].

Table 2: Montreal Pipeline’s financial information
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Revenues (million $) 71.5 71.2 64.3 49.3 38.6 19.4 17.5 15.7 14.0
Operating expenses (million $) 36.4 32.4 33.0 32.9 31.8 29.5 23.9 31.9 26.9
Net income (million $) 19.1 22.9 18.1 10.1 6.1 -5.8 -2.8 -13.8 -12.9
Property, plant and equipment (million $) 94.7 91.1 88.0 90.0 88.9 85.2 82.4 79.0 75.6
Corporate financial information

Section updated June 2020

MPLL is a privately held company that is incorporated in Canada. MPLL’s shareholders are: Imperial Oil Limited (the majority shareholder), Suncor Energy Inc. and Shell Canada Limited.

Imperial Oil Limited (Imperial) is an integrated oil and gas company operating in Canada. Imperial is the largest refiner of petroleum products in Canada and operates refineries in Ontario and Alberta. Imperial operates retail gasoline stations across Canada under the Esso and Mobil brands. Imperial is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.

Suncor Energy Inc. (Suncor) is the largest integrated energy company in Canada. Suncor has crude oil and natural gas extraction operations in western Canada, the United Kingdom and Norway. Suncor also operates refineries in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Colorado and owns retail gasoline stations across Canada under the Petro-Canada brand. Suncor is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.

Shell Canada Limited is an oil and gas producer company operating in Canada and is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Table 3: credit ratings information for MPLL shareholders
  2017 2018 2019 2020
Imperial Oil Limited – DBRS AA AA AA AA
Imperial Oil Limited – S&P Global AA+ AA+ AA+ AA
Suncor Energy Inc. – Moody’s Baa1 Baa1 Baa1 Baa1
Suncor Energy Inc. – DBRS A (low) A (low) A (low) A (low)
Suncor Energy Inc. – S&P Global A- A- A- BBB+
Royal Dutch Shell Plc – Moody’s Aa2 Aa2 Aa2 Aa2
Royal Dutch Shell Plc – S&P Global A+ A+ AA AA
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. MPLL’s last audit was completed on 5 July 2013.

Official CER documents related to MPLL’s financial regulatory audits are available: Montreal Pipeline regulatory documents (financial regulatory audits) [Folder 907551].

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 MPLL must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Montreal Pipe Line Limited”.

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 Montreal pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Montreal Pipe Line Limited”.

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 Montreal’s Integrated Contingency Plan, go to Portland-Montreal Pipeline’s resources website, where they are listed as Emergency Response Plans.

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