A common carrier is a pipeline that must accept all products
offered to it for transportation provided that it has excess
capacity.1 British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and
Manitoba all have provincial legislation governing when a common
carrier application can be made by a producer wanting to transport
its product on an intra-provincial pipeline. In practice, only
Alberta and British Columbia have actually granted a common carrier
order and have a well-defined process to review an application for
a common carrier order.
Alberta's common carrier legislation and supporting Alberta
Energy Regulatory (AER) directive is the most comprehensive of the
four provinces and provides the most certainty for those applying.
The AER has a defined process and will review a common carrier
application in 120 days.2 In British Columbia, the
British Columbia Utilities Commission also has a defined process
but the processing time for a common carrier application varies
from one month to a year or longer. In both Saskatchewan and
Manitoba, the process is unknown and, to date, neither has yet to
consider an application. Manitoba's regime is particularly
challenging. The Oil and Gas Act in Manitoba allows a person to, in
accordance with the regulations; make an application to the
minister for an order declaring a licensee to be a common
carrier.3 However, there are no applicable regulations
in existence at this time. When Manitoba's Mineral Resources
department was contacted in late November 2016, the Director of
Petroleum indicated that regulations and a procedure to deal with
common carrier applications were in draft.
In Alberta, 10 common carrier orders have been issued since
1963. The AER does not receive many of these applications; in 2016
— only two applications were submitted. In British Columbia,
only 5 common carrier orders have been made by the British Columbia
Even though there have not been a plethora of common carrier
orders issued by provincial regulators to date, it is important to
not lose sight of the fact that the threat of a public order being
made is often times enough to persuade pipeline owners to
The Alberta Court of Appeal's decision in Bokenfohr v Pembina Pipeline Corporation, 2016 ABCA 382 provides an important reflection on admissibility of evidence in the permission stage of an appeal in the oil and gas context.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).