Operational Authorizations - Pipelines


Operational Authorizations - Pipelines

Operational Authorizations are secondary approvals granted to operating wells, facilities and pipelines. These requests may be due to unforeseen issues with the well or events that could not be predicted during the submission of the licence application.

Operational Authorizations - Pipelines may include requests for approvals, waivers, extensions and/or regulatory variances for the following pipeline activities and requirements outlined in Directive 077: Pipelines-Requirements and Reference Tools where a pipeline licence under Directive 056 already exists or a pipeline approval under an alternative authorization (such as Directive 077) process exists.

  • approval for prescribed gaseous or non-fresh water media pressure tests
  • variance to prescribed gaseous or non-fresh water media pressure tests
  • temporary substance change (maximum 30 days)
  • temporary flow reversal (maximum 30 days)
  • temporary resumption of a discontinued pipeline (maximum 30 days)
  • operating a pipeline in a revised Class area
  • ground disturbance approval where the licensee is unknown or defunct
  • non-CSA materials or repair methods
  • blending operations

For other pipeline authorizations not listed here, please forward your query to the application submission email address to obtain advice on how to proceed.

The following outlines the critical information requirements and the process to follow in order to obtain an operational authorization related to pipeline issues. It contains links to relevant application submission procedures and guidance documents.


Operational Authorizations – Pipelines are submitted to the following email address: PipelineOperations@aer.ca

Applicants are required to identify the type of request it is seeking in the subject line of the email communication (for example, PIPELINE – Temporary Flow Reversal). Submissions that do not identify the type of request in this manner will be closed without further review.

Submissions are routed to the appropriate subject matter expert based on the type of request.


Upon receipt at the AER, the application is reviewed initially for administrative completeness. This portion of the review ensures the mandatory documents have been attached and are relevant to the application. As a minimum, this will include:

  • A detailed explanation of the waiver/variance being requested,
  • The pipeline location, licence number and map,
  • An engineering assessment (where necessary), and
  • Any other supporting information that will assist in the review.

The mandatory documents required to support a variance request are outlined in the “Technical Check List”. Applicants may include additional attachments to assist in the decision making process.

A detailed technical review is conducted to ensure the information submitted supports the variance or waiver request. Depending on the type of request, it may be necessary for staff to engage other AER experts through an internal referral process. Such referrals may extend the time required to process the request.

During the review it may be necessary to request additional information from the applicant to clarify the request.  If further information is required, a Supplemental Information Request (SIR) is sent to the applicant via email with a submission deadline of 5 business days. An application may be closed if the SIR response is not received within the specified timeframe, if the minimum information described above is not submitted or if the mitigation proposed in support of the requested variance is not acceptable. The applicant will be notified via email of the decision. The application may be resubmitted upon receipt of the closure notice.

If the application is technically complete and an assessment of the risks associated with the request are deemed to be acceptable, an approval letter will be sent to the applicant via email notification.


10 business days