TC Energy’s commitment to managing pipeline assets safely and responsibly throughout the life cycle includes eventual abandonment when pipelines and facilities are no longer necessary for service. With Canada Energy Regulator (CER) oversight and approval as the Regulator (previously the National Energy Board), TC Energy collects sufficient funds to ensure there are financial resources available for pipeline abandonment. These funds are set-aside in abandonment trusts for larger pipeline companies, including: TransCanada PipeLines Limited (TCPL), NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. (Foothills), Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline Inc. (TQM) and Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd. (Keystone). For Great Lakes Pipeline Canada (GLC), a letter of credit is used instead to set aside funds for abandonment.
The Trusts are part of TC Energy’s overall commitment to landowners and communities to ensure the safe, responsible retirement of our assets. With Regulator oversight and approval, TC Energy manages these trusts and regularly reports on their status.
TC Energy files Annual Abandonment Reporting Forms for each of its federally-regulated pipelines with the Regulator. In addition, Companies that use Trust funds, independent auditors review the annual financial statements of each Trust fund providing an opinion that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Trust Fund for Abandonment of the Pipeline Assets at year-end, and its financial performance for the year then ended in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This allows greater transparency for landowners and members of the public by providing actual amounts collected in the year, the year end balances, and demonstrating the investment decisions and actions have complied with the Statement of Investment Policy and Practices (SIPP) filed with the Regulator. Click on each pipeline’s link below to view these documents on the Regulator’s site.
The money set-aside for pipeline abandonment is invested by the Trustee according to the SIPPs. TC Energy filed each pipeline’s current SIPP with the Regulator. Any change to a SIPP will be reflected in a revised filing to the Regulator.
Each Trust is a “qualifying environmental trust” (“QET”) within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada) and is maintained for the sole purpose of setting aside funds to secure a pipeline’s reclamation obligations in respect of sites in Canada used primarily for the operation of TC Energy’s pipeline systems.
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 and the provisions of the Income Tax Act which govern QETs.
For more information on the current investment asset mix and policy, click on the links below to view the related documents on the Regulator’s site.
On April 26th, 2019, TransCanada Pipelines, NGTL, Foothills filed a revised SIPP with the Regulator that will be effective on June 25, 2019, found for each pipeline below.
Regulator Approving the Pipeline Trust Agreements:See the Decision that includes the Trust Agreements:
NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd:
TransCanada PipeLines Limited:
Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd.:
Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline Inc.:
TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd.:
We’ve established trusts with the Regulator, to ensure the responsible retirement of our assets once they have reached the end of their life cycle.
Read more about the financial aspects of this process at the Regulator's website.
The amount to be collected and set aside each year is approved by the CER. As of December 31, 2020, the balance of funds set aside in the trust accounts are provided in the 2020 Abandonment Funding Forms for individual pipelines viewable in the forms above.
We are required to collect and set aside funds for all of our federally regulated pipelines under CER jurisdiction. This includes the Canadian Mainline, NGTL, Foothills and TQM natural gas pipeline systems and the Keystone oil pipeline system.
Our 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.
Yes. The CER requires a periodic review process that includes public participation to ensure appropriate funds are collected for pipeline retirement. We also regularly assess our finances to ensure adequate funds will be available when needed.
Smaller pipeline systems, including GLC, rely on letters of credit or surety bonds that are filed with the Board as their set aside mechanism.
Most of TC Energy’s Canadian assets are regulated by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) as the Regulator, which replaced the National Energy Board (NEB) in August 2019. When TC Energy decides to decommission or abandon pipeline assets, the pipeline in question makes the necessary filings with the Regulator. For example, NGTL applied to the Regulator on August 18, 2016 to abandon a 266-kilometer section of the Peace River Mainline in Northwestern Alberta. On March 14th, 2018, the Regulator approved the application after a regulatory review that included both written and oral evidence. More information on the NGTL’s Peace River Mainline Retirement Program can be found on TC Energy’s website.
Additional information of the Regulator oversight of pipeline abandonment and the process by which the company must follow can be located here.
TC Energy sets aside funds for abandonment and decommissioning of pipeline assets using carefully prepared cost estimates. As part of the Regulator’s MH-001-2012 public proceedings, TC Energy filed abandonment cost estimates (ACEs) for each of its federally-regulated pipelines where the reasonableness of the cost estimates was considered. The Regulator examined the reasonableness of assumptions regarding proposed abandonment methods, scope and rationale for each abandonment activity considered to estimate costs for various activities, and the approach to the estimation of contingency and provisions for post abandonment. The Regulator approved each pipeline’s first ACE Applications in 2014 that were in 2014 dollars.
The Regulator committed to the public, all landowners, indigenous groups and interested stakeholders that cost estimates would be reviewed regularly, at least every five years to ensure sufficient funds are available. On February 8, 2016, the Regulator initiated the 2016 Abandonment Cost Estimate Review for all Group 1 companies under its jurisdiction, such as the TC Energy companies. The TC Energy Companies filed updated ACEs with the Regulator on September 30th, 2016 reflecting costs in 2016 dollars. The revised 2016 ACEs also included details modifying its approach to estimating contingency, updated the Regulator on consultation activities, and submitted a five-year preliminary decommissioning and abandonment plan. The five-year plan also addressed associated funding and impacts on funds set aside in each of the TC Energy Companies Abandonment Trusts. The Regulator approved these updated ACEs on April 18, 2018. The most recently approved ACEs can be found on the Regulator’s site at the links below:
NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd:2016 Abandonment Cost Estimate
TransCanada PipeLines Limited:2016 Abandonment Cost Estimate
Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd.:2016 Abandonment Cost Estimate
Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline Inc.:2016 Abandonment Cost Estimate
TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd.: 2016 Abandonment Cost Estimate
Great Lakes Canada:2018 Group 2 Abandonment Cost Estimate
Eligible costs related to pipeline abandonment and decommissioning activities (collectively referred to as reclamation obligations) are intended to be funded from Abandonment Trusts. Pipelines with an Abandonment Trust as their set-aside mechanism pre-fund reclamation activities and seek reimbursement from their respective Abandonment Trust for costs incurred, subject to Regulator's approval.
Download and read funding reporting forms and financial statements for some of our key CER regulated Canadian natural gas and oil & liquids assets below.
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.