Nova Scotia

Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline commits $200M in case of mishap

Federal regulators have ordered the owners of all pipelines in Canada, including the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, to post guarantees there is money available in case of a leak or other incident.

Pipeline through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick assessed maximum for natural gas

The Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline is owned by Enbridge Inc., Halifax-based Emera Inc. and ExxonMobil. (CBC)

The owners of the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline that runs through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have pledged $200 million to cover mishaps on the natural gas line.

Federal regulators have ordered the owners of all pipelines in Canada to post guarantees there is money available in case of a leak or other incident.

"What it really means is that in Canada, polluters pay," said Sarah Kiley, a spokesperson for Canada Energy Regulator, the agency that has succeeded the National Energy Board.

Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline — known as the MN&P line — has been assessed the maximum for a natural gas pipeline, based on the diameter of the pipe and the pressure it operates under.

It means that if something were to go wrong, regardless of who is responsible, MN&P would be required to pay up to $200 million to cover costs and damages, Kiley said.

"If they are found to be at fault, there is no limit to the cost that they would have to pay," she said Monday night in an interview from Calgary.

Breaking down financial commitment

The owners of large oil pipelines have been assessed a maximum of $1 billion because a leak would cost more to clean up and compensate people who were impacted, Kiley said.

Maritimes and Northeast has proposed to cover its obligation with $100 million in insurance and the remainder in credit guarantees from the pipeline owners, based on their stake in the pipeline.

This month, Enbridge Inc. pledged $78 million, Halifax-based Emera Inc. $12.79 million and ExxonMobil $9.5 million.

"It's another level of assurance that we provide," said Steve Rankin of Maritimes and Northeast.

Kiley said the Canada Energy Regulator is currently assessing the financial plan to ensure it meets federal requirements.

No natural gas from region

The 1,100-kilometre pipeline was built in the late 1990s to carry natural gas from fields near Sable Island off Nova Scotia to markets in New England. It travels across Nova Scotia and across southern New Brunswick before crossing the U.S.  border near St. Stephen, N.B.

These days the MN&P line only carries natural gas into the region.

Both of Nova Scotia's offshore production facilities, the Exxon-led Sable Offshore Energy Project and EnCana-owned Deep Panuke, were shut down in 2018.

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