Pipeline Profiles: Aurora Pipeline

Pipeline system and key points

Section updated June 2020

Aurora Pipeline Company Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plains Midstream Canada ULC (PMC) owns and operates the Aurora Pipeline. The Aurora Pipeline is the CER-regulated border segment of the Rangeland Pipeline system. The Rangeland Pipeline system transports natural gas liquids, condensate, light sweet crude, and light sour crude between Edmonton, Alberta and refineries in the U.S. The Rangeland Pipeline is regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The Aurora Pipeline consists of two parallel (12-inch and 8-inch) 0.75 km sections of pipeline, starting near Carway, Alberta and ending at the Canada–U.S. border.

At the U.S. border, the Aurora Pipeline connects with the Glacier Pipeline, a segment of the Rocky Mountain Pipeline, which transports crude oil from the Canadian border and U.S. crude oil from Montana and North Dakota to destinations in Montana, Wyoming, and other interconnecting pipelines. The Rocky Mountain Pipeline is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Aurora Pipeline commenced operations in 1962. At the end of 2017, CER-regulated assets included 1.48 km of pipeline. Capacity of the Aurora Pipeline is 7 150 cubic metres per day (45 000 barrels per day).

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

Aurora pipeline system map

Source: CER

Text version of this map

This map provides an overview of the Aurora Pipeline.

You can see the Aurora 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.

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 Aurora Pipeline toll.

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

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

Official CER documents related to the traffic, tolls and tariffs for the Aurora Pipeline can be found here: Aurora Pipeline toll documents [Folder 894157].

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 $113 375 to do this for the Aurora Pipeline. In 2018, PMC updated this estimate to $57 840. These funds are being collected over 40 years and set aside in a trust.

Table 1: Aurora Pipeline’s abandonment trust fund balance
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Trust fund balance ($) 4 228 8 197 11 810 15 331 18 638

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

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. Aurora Pipeline Company Ltd. is required to demonstrate that it has financial resources of $300 million. Official CER documents can be found here: Aurora financial resource requirements documents [Folder 3781868].

Pipeline 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 PMC’s Audited Financial Statements [Folder 947464]

Table 2: Aurora Pipeline’s financial information
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Revenues (thousand $) 81 62 39 60 63 53 46 45 40
Expenses (thousand $) 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9
Assets (thousand $) 303 298 293 288 283 289 289 289 288

Corporate financial information

Section updated June 2020

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 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 storage expert opinions of how likely the debt issuer is to live up to its obligations.

Table 3: Plains All American Pipeline's credit ratings
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Moody's credit rating Baa3 Baa2 Baa2 Baa2 Baa2 Baa3 Ba1 Ba1 Ba1 Ba1
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. 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].

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 Aurora pipeline must meet, and their status, please see the condition compliance table and search for “Plains Midstream Canada 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 Aurora pipeline since 2008, visit the Safety performance dashboard and select “Plains Midstream Canada ULC”.

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 Aurora’s Emergency Response Plan, go to Plains Midstream Canada’s Emergency Response Plans website.

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