Release of the New Pipeline Rules and Associated Instruments
Release Date: November 15, 2023
Today, we released a new edition of the Pipeline Rules that came into effect on November 15, 2023. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) administers the Pipeline Act, which is the enabling legislation that allows for the licensing of oil and gas pipelines in Alberta. The Pipeline Act also gives the AER the authority to set technical requirements in the Pipeline Rules for pipeline design, construction, operation, discontinuation, abandonment, and removal.
In conjunction with the release of the Pipeline Rules, we have released new editions of
- Directive 077: Pipelines – Requirements and Reference Tools,
- Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules,
- Manual 005: Pipeline Inspections, and
- Manual 012: Energy Development Applications; Procedures and Schedules.
The main changes to the Pipeline Rules include
- allowing the use of temporary surface pipelines for water conveyance in support of the Water Conservation Policy for Upstream Oil and Gas Operations (Part 1);
- aligning with standard CSA Z662: Oil and gas pipeline systems concerning the Safety and Loss Management System and integrity management program (sections 14 and 15);
- clarifying requirements for minimum cover for existing or abandoned pipelines (section 29);
- removing duplicate requirements for pressure control and overpressure protection at pipeline tie-ins in cases where pressure control is managed elsewhere (section 31);
- reorganizing requirements for ground disturbance and including trenchless excavation techniques (Part 4);
- providing a limited exemption for release reporting of specific on-installation releases (low volume, low risk and not an indicator of pipeline integrity) (section 67);
- reorganizing requirements and updating the pipeline removal process to be consistent with current discontinuation and abandonment processes (notification after the activity is completed) (Part 9);
- allowing licensees up to 24 months (rather than twelve) to discontinue, abandon, or resume a pipeline managed under an integrity management program; and
- allowing for some system-wide abandonments without disconnecting tie-ins.
The main changes to Directive 077 include
- expanding the use of temporary surface pipelines for water conveyance (improving operational efficiency) and adding five associated forms (authorization requests and information submissions);
- improving alignment with CSA standards and revising references to CSA Z662: Oil and gas pipeline systems;
- revising sections on the use of gaseous and nonfresh water as test mediums for pressure testing, including two new forms;
- deleting redundant content or content that is no longer relevant;
- revising figures and interpreting jurisdictional boundaries for pipelines and piping; and
- adding a new section on commingling oil effluent and gas production streams.
The main changes to Directive 056 include
- reordering pipeline related sections to improve clarity;
- making minor changes to pipeline abandonment, discontinuance, removal, and line split;
- changing the pipeline technical audit documentation requirements for new construction and amendment applications; and
- changing application requirements in accordance with the revised Pipeline Rules and Directive 077 and in alignment with CSA Z662.
The main changes to Manual 005 include
- adding new sections to align with changes in the Pipeline Rules (e.g., Safety and Loss Management Systems, integrity management programs);
- reorganizing sections to group technical subjects together;
- adding specified enactment requirements to the manual; and
- updating references to standard CSA Z662.
The main changes to Manual 012 include
- adding and changing sections because of changes in the Pipeline Rules, Directive 056, Directive 077, and OneStop;
- reordering sections and adding section numbers to improve clarity; and
- consolidating information from frequently asked questions (FAQs).
On November 16, 2020, we released proposed changes to the Pipeline Rules for public comment (see Bulletin 2020-24), and on July 12, 2022, we released a proposed version of Directive 077 for public comment (see Bulletin 2022-24). We have considered the feedback from various stakeholders and rights holders, including Indigenous communities, industry, and environmental groups. A summary of what we heard and our responses is available on the Directive 077 landing page.
The revised editions of Directive 056 and Directive 077 are available on our website at aer.ca > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Directives. The revised editions of Manual 005 and Manual 012 are available on our website at aer.ca > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Manuals. If you have any questions, contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 1-855-297-8311 or by email at @email.