Pipeline Profiles: Express Pipeline

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated June 2020

Express Pipeline Ltd. owns the Canadian portion of the Express Pipeline. Enbridge Inc. is the ultimate parent company of Express Pipeline Ltd. The Express Pipeline (also known as Line 40A) transports light, medium, and 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. Along its route, deliveries can be made in Montana and Wyoming to connecting facilities serving Colorado and Utah. 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. Enbridge Inc. is also the ultimate parent company of Express Pipeline LLC. 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. Collectively, the system is known as the Express-Platte system.

The Express Pipeline commenced operations in 1997. At the end of 2017, CER-regulated assets included 439 km of pipeline and various auxiliary infrastructure. In May 2015 the CER approved the construction of an additional storage tank at Express’ existing crude oil storage facility in Hardisty, Alberta. The project was placed into service in August 2016 [Filing A79000]. In April 2020, the CER approved the expansion of Express Pipeline capacity from approximately 287 000 barrels per day to 310 000 barrels per day with the installation of one pre-fabricated drag reducing agent skid at the Express Hardisty Terminal. The project was placed into service in September 2020 [Filing C08496].

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.

Tolls

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].

Safety and Environment

Conditions Compliance

Section updated April 2021

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 Commission may add conditions to regulatory instruments that each company must meet. Conditions are project-specific and are designed to protect public and the environment by reducing possible risks identified during the application process.

Condition compliance is part of the CER's oversight and enforcement action is taken when required.

Conditions can be related to a specific region, or apply to the pipeline project as a whole. The map below displays the number of in progress and closed conditions mapped to economic regions as defined by Statistics Canada.

Conditions can typically be either in-progress or closed. The CER follows up on in-progress conditions.

In-Progress

This status refers to conditions that continue to be monitored by the CER. This happens when:

  • condition filings have not yet been received by the CER; or,
  • filings have been received but are under review or do not yet meet requirements; or,
  • a project is not completed and it has conditions, which have not been met; or,
  • a project has a post-construction condition, but a requirement has not yet been completed; or,
  • some conditions may be active indefinitely or refer to the continued operation of a pipeline.
Closed

This status refers to:

  • condition requirements that have been satisfied, and no further submissions from the company are required; or
  • conditions whose filings or actions apply to a specific phase that have been fulfilled as the phase is completed (i.e. a specific filing during construction phase). Note: comments on the required actions can still be received.

Source and description

Data source: Open Government

Description: The above map displays the number of CER conditions associated with projects approved by the Commission. The map is split into two tabs which show in-progress and closed conditions separately, mapped to an economic region. If a company has no in-progress conditions specific to an economic region, the dashboard will default to show the closed conditions by region. An additional view is available which contains the number of in-progress and closed conditions that don't have a corresponding economic region in the dataset. The map regions are shaded based on the number of conditions, with lighter colored regions containing fewer conditions compared to darker colors. Conditions that apply to more than one region are double counted in the map, and these conditions will appear in the map region total and map region breakdown for each applicable region. The condition counts contained in the map navigation buttons represent total conditions without region double counting.

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

Have you checked out the CER's interactive conditions data visualization? This tool offers a deep dive into the CER's conditions compliance data and process, exploring conditions across all CER regulated companies by keyword, project, and location.

Pipeline Incidents

Section updated March 2021

The information presented here is based on CER data (2008 to current) for incidents reported under the Onshore Pipeline Regulations and the Processing Plant Regulations. New data is added quarterly. Learn more on how incident data collection has evolved since the NEB (now the CER) was established in 1959.

Companies must report events, such as incidents, to the CER in accordance with the CER Event Reporting Guidelines. Knowing what happened, and why, helps us find ways to prevent them from happening again.

What is an incident? (Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR))

As defined in the OPR, “incident” means an occurrence that results in:

  1. the death or serious injury to a person;
  2. a significant adverse effect on the environment;
  3. an unintended fire or explosion;
  4. an unintended or uncontained release of low vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 m³;
  5. an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas or high vapour pressure (HVP) hydrocarbons;
  6. the operation of a pipeline beyond its design limits as determined under CSA Z662 or CSA Z276 or any operating limits imposed by the CER.
What is an incident? (Processing Plant Regulations (PPR))

As defined in the PPR, “incident” is defined as an occurrence that results or could result in a significant adverse effect on property, the environment, or the safety of persons. For the purposes of incident reporting in the PPR, events that fall under this definition include, but are not limited to:

  1. the death or serious injury to a person;
  2. a significant adverse effect on the environment;
  3. an unintended fire or explosion that results in or has the potential to result in damage to company, publicl/crown or personal property;
  4. an unintended or uncontained release of low vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons in excess of 1.5 m³;
  5. an unintended or uncontrolled release of gas, HVP hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide or other poisonous gas; or
  6. the operation of a plant beyond its design limits or any limits imposed by the CER.
Incidents and the CER

Companies self-report incidents and are expected to take a precautionary approach in doing so. This means that even when there is doubt as to whether an incident should be reported, the company must report it. The approach is, “When in doubt, report.” This is consistent with CER-regulated companies’ responsibility for anticipating, preventing, mitigating and managing incidents of any size or duration.

The CER reviews all reported incidents to assess whether companies have taken the appropriate corrective actions and to identify potential trends in incidents. Each incident is given a status indicating the current stage of the CER's incident review.

CER Status
  • Initially Submitted: The company has notified the CER that an incident has occurred and provided preliminary information. A review has been initiated.
  • Submitted: The company has submitted all of the required information and the CER is reviewing the incident.
  • Closed: The CER’s incident review has been completed and the file is closed.
Incident type definitions: one incident can have multiple types
  • Release of Substance (featured in the dashboard) - Any time a product is unintentionally released. (Releases of non-gas low pressure products in volumes of less than 1.5 cubic metres are exempt from reporting.)

  • Adverse Environmental Effects - When any chemical substance is released at a concentration or volume that has the potential to change the ambient environment in a manner that would cause harm to human life, wildlife or vegetation (e.g., glycol, potassium carbonate, methanol, methanol mix from hydrostatic testing, etc.).
  • Explosion - An unintended explosion

  • Fatality - Any death involving employees, contractors or members of the public related to the construction, operation, maintenance or abandonment of pipelines

  • Fire - An unintended fire

  • Operation Beyond Design Limits Includes situations, such as:

    • over-pressures - i.e., pressures that are higher than the maximum the equipment was designed to safely handle;
    • vibration beyond design limits;
    • slope movements causing movement in the pipeline beyond design limits;
    • pipe exposures in rivers or streams; and
    • introduction of an inappropriate product (e.g., sour gas in excess of CSA limits)

    Operation beyond design limit is typically linked to an over-pressure of the product in the pipe; however, if a pipe was exposed to excessive vibration and was not designed for this, this could be considered operation beyond design limits. Operation beyond design limits does not include equipment contacting the pipe, or corrosion pits, etc.

  • Serious Injury (CER or Transportation Safety Board) - Any serious injury involving employees, contractors or members of the public related to the construction, operation or maintenance of pipelines.
Are there any incidents near me?
Select range (100km):
Source and description

Data source: Open Government

Description: The above map displays the location of product release incidents that have occured on the pipeline system since 2008. The map defaults to show incidents as bubbles which are colored based on the substance released. Incidents on the map can be re-categorized based on the most recently available status of the CER's incident review, the year in which the incident was reported, and the province/territory where the incident occured. The incident map bubble can be switched to show the estimated volume of product released, with larger map bubbles showing larger release volumes relative to other product releases on the system. The incident data can also be toggled to display a stacked bar chart of incidents over time by clicking on the incident trends button above the map. The stacked bars dispaly the number of product release incidents by year, with bar color segments corresponding to the various products released. Similiar to the map, incidents can be re-categorized by clicking on the side buttons to view a breakdown of incidents by status, what happened, why it happened, and province/territory.

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

Have you checked out the CER's interactive incident data visualization? This tool offers a deep dive into the CER's incident data trends, exploring incidents across all CER regulated companies.

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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