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ARCHIVED - RPP 2007-2008
Northern Pipeline Agency Canada

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Section I - Overview

Commissioner’s Message

It is my pleasure to present the 2007-08 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Northern Pipeline Agency (NPA).        

The NPA was established by the Northern Pipeline Act (the Act) in 1978 to facilitate the planning and construction by Foothills Pipe Lines Ltd. (Foothills) of the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline Project and to maximize social and economic benefits from its construction and operation, and minimize any adverse effects.  The pipeline, also referred to as the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, was certificated in 1978 and is intended to transport Alaskan and possibly northern Canadian natural gas to southern markets in Canada and the United States.

The southern portion of the pipeline was constructed in the early 1980's and presently transports Canadian gas sourced from south of the 60th parallel. Unfavourable economic conditions led to indefinite delays in the completion of the northern portion of the pipeline, and consequently, the NPA's activities were limited to overseeing the expansion of the southern portion of the pipeline.

Recently, growing North American demand for natural gas, limitations on its supply from conventional sources and strong natural gas prices have rekindled interest in exploring options for bringing northern gas to markets.  In response, the NPA has been taking measures to address the commitments of the Government of Canada that are embodied in the Act.

During the period of this report, the NPA will continue to work together with other federal agencies, provincial and territorial governments, First Nations and the public to meet the objectives of the Act.


Cassie J. Doyle



Management Representation Statement

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Northern Pipeline Agency.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports.

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;

  • It is based on the NPA’s approved Program Activity Architecture as reflected in its Management Resources and Results Structure;

  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;  

  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat.


Cassie J. Doyle

Commissioner, Northern Pipeline Agency


Summary Information

The NPA was created by the Act in 1978 to:

  • facilitate the planning and construction of the Canadian portion of the Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline Project, for which National Energy Board (NEB) certificates were granted to Foothills taking into account local and regional interests;

  • facilitate, in relation to the pipeline, consultation and coordination with the governments of the provinces and the territories;

  • maximize social and economic benefits and the opportunities for employment by Canadians while minimizing any adverse social and environmental effects; and

  • advance national economic and energy interests and maximize related industrial benefits through Canadian participation in all aspects of the pipeline.

Prior to commencing construction of any particular section of the pipeline, Foothills is required to obtain a series of specific approvals from the NPA pursuant to the Act and the terms and conditions specified under the Act. These approvals relate to socio-economic and environmental factors, routing issues, technical design, and other matters such as demonstration of financing. For certain authorizations, approval from the NEB is necessary.

The project authorized under the Act envisaged the construction of a natural gas pipeline to carry gas from Alaska, through the Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta to markets in Canada and the United States. A portion of the pipeline was built in Alberta by 1982, with further expansions, under the NPA, as recently as 1998. However, the weak market conditions for natural gas, prevailing from the mid-1980s and in the 1990s resulted in an indefinite delay in construction of the northern portion of the line from Alaska to Alberta. 

Since the beginning of this decade natural gas prices have been rising, at the same time as supplies from traditional North American supply basins in the United States and western Canada are declining, leading to a corresponding increase in interest in reviving the Alaska Highway Gas Pipeline Project. 

Foothills has indicated it intends to file detailed project plans to complete the project and has asked that the NPA prepare to expeditiously consider these plans and to facilitate construction.  At the same time, natural gas producers, who hold the rights to extract gas in Alaska, have indicated their interest in applying for new certificates, under the National Energy Board Act to build a pipeline to bring the gas to markets south of the 60th parallel.

The NPA's jurisdiction extends only to the Foothills project, as authorized under the Act.  In anticipation of receiving detailed project plans from Foothills, the NPA has begun reviewing key issues, including environmental concerns and First Nations interests.  During 2007-2008 the NPA will be occupied with the development of plans to regulate and facilitate the construction of the pipeline. 

In the event that a detailed plan is actually received and commercial arrangements to support construction of the project are finalized, the NPA would be called upon to significantly increase its activity levels. It is unlikely that any such plan would be received before 2008-2009.

NPA’s Financial Resources                                                 







NPA’s Human Resources




2 FTEs

2 FTEs

2 FTEs

Financial resources for 2007-08 are based on an assumption that the NPA will continue planning for a Foothills project. Resource levels for future years may need to be adjusted depending on the actual level of activity in the Foothills project. 

The costs of the NPA are fully cost recovered from Foothills.

NPA Priority

To achieve results for Canadians over the period of this three-year financial plan, the NPA has one strategic priority in respect of its strategic outcome:



Planned Spending*




To effectively administer the Act in respect of any prebuild expansions and establish the framework to respond to the reactivation of Phase II of the pipeline when required.








*Expenditures and human resource requirements for the planning period are summarized in the table.  It should be noted that the NPA’s costs are not borne by the taxpayer.  The NPA recovers 100% of its operating costs from Foothills through existing authorities pursuant to section 29 of the Act and determined in accordance with section 24.1 of the National Energy Board Act and the National Energy Board Cost Recovery Regulations.

NPA - Plans and Priority

The challenge for the NPA is to be in a state of readiness in the event Phase II of the pipeline project is reactivated.  Since the Act came into force, the external environment relevant to environmental and public considerations, prior to the commencement of construction, has changed significantly. Some of the changes in Yukon include new environmental legislation, devolution of some federal responsibilities, and settlement of most First Nations land claims along the pipeline route.

The NPA will need to develop regulatory processes which fully meet modern environmental standards and respect the rights of First Nations. Simultaneously these processes must respect the rights granted to Foothills under the Act and recognize the continuing validity of the existing certificates.  To carry out these responsibilities, the NPA is working closely with relevant federal departments, principally the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the NEB, Foreign Affairs Canada, and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

As a small agency, the NPA obtains its administrative services from NRCan and is benefiting from the shared services initiative launched by that department in late 2004. 

For the right of easement, Foothills pays the NPA an annual amount of $30,400; of this amount $10,000 is collected on behalf of and forwarded directly to the Yukon Government. The balance of $20,400 is remitted to the Government of Canada.