TC Energy’s commitment to managing pipeline assets safely and responsibly throughout the life cycle includes eventual abandonment when pipelines and associated facilities are no longer necessary for service.
With Canada Energy Regulator (CER or Regulator) (previously the National Energy Board) oversight and approval of our federally-regulated pipelines and facilities, TC Energy ensures sufficient funds are available for pipeline system abandonment and decommissioning activities.
Ensuring there is sufficient funding is part of TC Energy’s overall commitment to landowners, Indigenous peoples and communities to ensure safe and responsible retirement of our assets. TC Energy manages this funding and regularly reports on the funding status to the Regulator.
Read more about the financial aspects of this process on the CER’s website.
When TC Energy decides to physically decommission or abandon any assets, the appropriate notifications or applications are filed with the Regulator for any necessary approvals that may be required before the work can commence. At the end of their lifecycle, pipeline assets are taken out of service with as much thought and care as when new facilities are proposed and constructed. We follow the CER’s processes for end-of-life planning. More information about the pipeline life-cycle can be found on our website.
Information on what the abandonment of a federally-regulated pipeline is, the Regulator’s role, and how you can participate in the Regulator’s assessment of a company’s proposed abandonment project can also be accessed on the Regulator’s website.
The funds required for abandonment and decommissioning of pipeline assets are based on carefully prepared abandonment cost estimates (ACEs). The Regulator committed to the public, all landowners, Indigenous peoples and interested stakeholders that cost estimates would be reviewed regularly, at least every five years to ensure sufficient funds are available. The Regulator examines the reasonableness of the assumptions regarding proposed abandonment methods, the scope and rationale for each abandonment activity, the estimated costs for the various activities, and the approach to the estimation of contingency and provisions for post abandonment.
TCPL, NGTL, Foothills, TQM and Keystone filed their most recent ACEs with the Regulator in 2016, which were approved in 2018. These most recently approved ACEs can be found on the Regulator’s site at the links below:
GLC’s ACE was reviewed and approved in 2018 and can be found on the CER website at the link below:
In December 2021, the CER initiated a review of the ACEs for all CER-regulated pipelines. Information related to this review is available on the CER website.
The Regulator approved the Trust Agreements applicable to each of TCPL, NGTL, Foothills, TQM and Keystone.
See the Regulator Decision that includes the Trust Agreements on the CER’s website.
TC Energy files Annual Abandonment Reporting Forms for each of the pipeline systems that have established Trusts with the Regulator. In addition, independent auditors review the annual financial statements of each Trust and provide an opinion as to whether the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position and performance of the Trust at year-end. This reporting allows for greater transparency for landowners, Indigenous peoples, members of the public, and other stakeholders by providing actual amounts collected in the year along with the Trust balances. It also helps demonstrate that any investment decisions have complied with the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures (SIPP) applicable to each pipeline system (see below for further information on the SIPP). Annual reporting can be found at the bottom of this page and is filed with the Regulator by April 30 of each year for year-end performance of the prior year.
The money set aside for pipeline abandonment is invested by the designated Trustee according to the SIPPs, similar to a pension fund. Each applicable pipeline’s current SIPP is filed with the Regulator. Any change to a SIPP will be reflected in a revised filing with the Regulator.
The purpose of the SIPP is to communicate the investment guidelines and monitoring procedures appropriate to the objectives of the Trust and in accordance with the Regulator’s MH-001-2013 Reasons for Decision on Set Aside and Collection Mechanisms.
Each pipeline company’s current SIPP can be accessed below.
For companies that established a Trust to fund abandonment and decommissioning activities, the funds in the Trusts can be used to fund eligible activities (known as reclamation obligations), subject to approval of the Regulator. Companies typically pre-fund reclamation activities and seek reimbursement from their respective Trusts for the costs incurred for reclamation obligations, subject to the Regulator's oversight and approval.
GLC is the only company under TC Energy that uses a Letter of Credit to ensure there is sufficient funding for any future abandonment activities. It reports to the Regulator on the status of its Letter of Credit annually as required under the MH-001-2013 Reasons for Decision on Set Aside and Collection Mechanisms. Annual reporting forms can be found in the following section and are due to the Regulator by January 31 each year.
The amount to be collected and set aside each year is approved by the CER. The balance of the funds are included in the annual reporting that can be found at the bottom of this page. The annual reporting for the companies that use a Trust to fund abandonment activities are filed with the Regulator by April 30 of each year for year-end performance of the prior year.. We also regularly assess our finances to ensure adequate funds will be available when needed.
We are required to ensure sufficient funds are set aside for all of our federally regulated pipelines under CER jurisdiction. This includes TCPL (the Canadian Mainline), NGTL, Foothills, TQM and GLC natural gas pipeline systems and the Keystone oil pipeline system.
For our TCPL, NGTL, Foothills, TQM and Keystone pipeline companies that use Trusts to set aside funds, customers who transport natural gas and oil through our pipeline systems are levied a surcharge to cover costs associated with the abandonment of those pipelines. This surcharge is collected and protected in Trusts established for each individual pipeline. For GLC as a smaller pipeline system, a letter of credit is held by the Regulator as the beneficiary.
The following funding reporting forms, as submitted to the Regulator annually, can be accessed and downloaded by selecting the pipeline company and then the year of interest:
TC Energy is committed to notifying affected landowners, towns, communities and local, state and federal governments and agencies involved in the Project. If you have any questions about the Project, please reach out to us via the contact information below.