Pipeline Profiles: Wascana

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated August 2021

Plains Midstream Canada ULC (PMC) owns and operates the Wascana Pipeline. The pipeline transports light crude oil from the Canada/U.S. border to Regina, Saskatchewan.

The pipeline receives light crude oil produced in the Bakken region in North Dakota via a connection with the Bakken North Pipeline. The main receipt point is Raymond Station, located in Sheridan County, Montana. The main delivery point is the Plains Terminal in Regina, Saskatchewan. In Regina, the Wascana Pipeline delivers crude oil to the Enbridge Mainline.

The pipeline commenced operations in 1975. CER-regulated assets include approximately 170 km of operating pipeline and various auxiliary infrastructure. Capacity of the Wascana pipeline is 6 359 cubic metres per day (40 000 barrels per day).

In October 2012, PMC applied to the CER to reverse the flow of Wascana, enabling it to transport light crude oil from the Bakken region across the U.S.-Canadian border to the Plains Terminal in Regina. In February 2013, the application was amended to propose bi-directional flow. The application was approved by the CER in May 2013 and Wascana began transporting crude oil in June 2014 [Folder 872390].

Official CER documents related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Wascana Pipeline are available: Plains Midstream Canada ULC regulatory documents (facilities) [Folder 534348].

You can see the Wascana 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 of Plains’ assets on its website.

Pipeline map

Wascana pipeline system map
Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Wascana Pipeline.

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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.

Because there are no third party shippers on the Wascana Pipeline, in June 2016, the CER approved PMC’s request [Folder 3004714] for exemption from filing audited financial statements and tariffs for the Wascana Pipeline.

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

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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 2013, PMC estimated it would cost $12.5 million to do this for the Wascana Pipeline. In 2018, it updated this estimate to $8.1 million. These funds are being collected over 40 years and set aside in a trust.

Table 1: Wascana’s abandonment trust fund balance
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Trust fund balance ($) 2 063 813 2 111 542 2 474 409

Official CER documents related to abandonment funding can be found here, sorted by year and by company: abandonment funding documents [Folder 3300366].

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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. Plains Midstream Canada 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: Plains Midstream Canada ULC financial resource requirements documents [Folder 2986143].

Corporate financial information

Section updated April 2021

PMC specializes in the transportation, storage, processing, and marketing of hydrocarbon commodities in western Canada and in Montana and North Dakota in the U.S. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Calgary, Canada. PMC is a subsidiary of Plains All American Pipeline. Plains All American Pipeline is headquartered in Houston, Texas. It is engaged in the transportation and storage of hydrocarbon commodities throughout North America.

Credit ratings provide an assessment 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 2: Plains All American Pipeline's credit ratings
  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Moody's credit rating Baa2 Baa2 Baa2 Baa2 Baa3 Ba1 Ba1 Ba1 Ba1
S&P credit rating Not rated Not rated Not rated Not rated 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. PMC’s last audit was completed on 28 January 2015.

Official CER documents related to PMC’s financial regulatory audits are available: Plains Midstream Canada ULC regulatory documents (financial regulatory audits) [Folder 2452652].

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Safety and Environment

Conditions Compliance

Section updated August 2022

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.

Dashboard instructions
  1. Click on a region to view conditions info
  2. Click map area outside of regions to hide info

Note: Some conditions apply to multiple regions. Conditions may be double counted across regions, resulting in a higher number of conditions than the totals seen in the buttons above.

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 coloured 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.

Reported Incidents

Section updated August 2022

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, public/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 m³ 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 occurred on the pipeline system since 2008. The map defaults to show incidents as bubbles which are coloured 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 occurred. 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 display the number of product release incidents by year, with bar colour segments corresponding to the various products released. Similar 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 [CSV].

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.

Operations and Maintenance Activities

Section updated August 2022

Oil and gas pipeline companies regularly conduct routine operations and maintenance (O&M) activities on CER regulated pipelines. These activities include things such as pipeline repairs, investigative and integrity digs, and many other activities while promoting safety, security, environmental protection, economic efficiency, and respect for the rights of those that may be affected.

Companies are required to adhere to Canadian Energy Regulator Act’s Onshore Pipeline Regulations and operate their facilities in a manner that is safe and protects the environment. Authorizations for pipelines typically allow companies to construct and operate a facility, and companies are not required to apply for additional approval to undertake most O&M activities. In certain circumstances, companies are required to notify the CER in advance with sufficient information to make a determination as to whether to inspect O&M activities that could result in safety consequences to landowners or the public, environmental consequences, or a negative impact on normal third-party use of the right-of-way (ROW) or adjacent property.

What activities are O&M activities (eligible activities)?

Operations and maintenance activities include:

  1. All activities necessary to safely operate an existing pipeline;
  2. Maintenance activities, upgrades or repairs to an existing pipeline or part of a pipeline that do not increase the approved maximum operating pressure (MOP), the stress level or diameter of the pipeline; or
  3. Physically removing an existing section of pipe up to 5 km in length, and putting a new section of pipe in its place, as long as this replacement does not increase the approved MOP, stress level or diameter of the pipeline.
What O&M Activities require CER approval (restrictions on eligible activities)?

Where any of the following restrictions exist, the company must apply to the Commission in accordance with the CER Act and the related regulations and may not carry out the proposed activity until approval from the Commission has been obtained. The restrictions apply where:

  1. The work includes welding on an in-service pipeline by a pipeline company that has not previously performed in-service welding in accordance with the requirements of CSA Z662-15, Clause 7.17, ‘Welding on In-Service Piping’, or the equivalent clause in the most recent edition of CSA Z662; or
  2. The work involves the construction of an aerial crossing, excluding work on company owned or leased land relating to facilities (e.g., terminal stations, processing plants, compressor/pump stations).
What kinds of activities are not O&M activities (ineligible activities)?

O&M activities do not include:

  1. Upgrades that result in increases above previously approved and specified levels to:
    • the MOP,
    • stress levels,
    • the diameter of the pipeline, and/or
    • airborne emissions or noise levels.
  2. "Looping" (i.e., adding pipe parallel or adjacent to, and interconnected with, an existing pipeline for the general purpose of increasing capacity);
  3. Construction of a new pipeline; or
  4. Deactivation (for longer than 12 months), reactivation (where a pipeline has been deactivated for more than 12 months), decommissioning, or abandonment.
The dashboard and figures presented below only include O&M activities from 2015 onwards that require notification to the CER. Consult the O&M Requirements and Guidance Notes for a list of O&M event activities that call for notification to be filed with the CER.

Source and description

Data Source: Open Government

Description: The above bar chart displays the number of O&M activities from 2015 to current, arranged based on the starting year of the activity. Each bar is stacked based on several parameters, with the default view showing the province/territory where the O&M activity occurred. Navigation buttons to the right of the bar chart provide the option to view the number of O&M activities by province/territory, if the activity includes an integrity dig, if in-stream work is required, if there are fish present, and if there are species at risk present.

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

View the requirements and guidance notes (O&M Guidelines) for more information on how these events are regulated while promoting safety, security, environmental protection, economic efficiency, and respect for the rights of those that may be affected.

Contaminated Sites and Remediation

Section updated August 2022

As part of the CER’s environmental protection activities, we require companies to manage and remediate contamination throughout the lifecycle of the facilities. As a first step, regulated companies are required to report contamination to the CER through the online submission of the Notification of Contamination (NOC).

After the NOC is submitted, companies must demonstrate they are actively managing the contamination according to the Remediation Process Guide. The progress and current status of remediation at the contaminated site are captured in the annual update submitted by a company each year for a contaminated site.

Third party contamination is on-site contamination that is shown to not be emanating or migrating from the company’s facilities or company-owned or leased lands or Right-of-Way. While third-party contamination is not the result of company activities, the CER still requires that this contamination is reported to the CER through the submission of the NOC.

The dashboard below contains information that is contained in the NOC's and annual updates found in REGDOCS. The CER publishes NOCs that have been submitted to the CER since August 2018, when the CER started collecting this information electronically and annual updates that have been submitted since 2021. For information on contaminated sites for which NOCs were submitted prior to August 2018, email remediation@cer-rec.gc.ca.

There are many different methods and approaches to remediate contamination. Thus, when a company submits a plan for remediation (i.e., remedial action plan) for CER review, they are required to include an options analysis to support the remedial method chosen, select appropriate remediation criteria and demonstrate engagement with potentially affected persons, among other requirements. CER analysts also review closure reports submitted by the company once the remediation is completed to ensure remediation has been completed appropriately.

Are there any contaminated sites near me?
Select range (100km):
Source and description

Data Source: Open Government

Description: The above map displays the approximate location of contaminated sites that have been reported since August 2018. The map defaults to show contaminated sites as bubbles which are coloured based on the year the Notice of Contamination was submitted. Contaminated sites on the map can be re-categorized based on the province/territory, if the site is within 30 metres of a water body, and the applicable land use at the site. The contaminated sites can also be toggled to display a stacked bar chart of events over time by clicking on the contaminated sites trends button above the map. The stacked bars display the number of contaminated sites reported by year. Like the map, contaminated sites can be re-categorized by clicking on the side buttons to view a breakdown of contaminated sites by site status, activity at time of discovery, pipeline or facility, and contaminant type.

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

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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 emergency management information for Wascana, go to Plains Midstream Canada’s Emergency Response Plans website and select Prairie Pipelines ERP. Wascana is covered under the Prairie Pipelines Emergency Response Plan, starting on PDF page 462.

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