Project FAQs

Will the pipeline be built above ground?

The vast majority of the pipeline will be buried up to a metre underground. The only exceptions will be select water crossings where it is safer to run the pipeline above the water crossing.

What benefits will the pipeline bring to British Columbia and Alberta?

The economic opportunities for this project are significant. It is estimated that about 5,500 person-years of on-site employment will be created during the construction phase in BC and Alberta providing opportunities to learn new skills and start new careers. In addition, about 1,150 long-term jobs will be created to operate the pipelines and marine terminal.

Total local, provincial and federal government tax revenues during 30 years of operations will be approximately $2.6 billion; this includes about $36 million per year estimated to be paid by Northern Gateway as local property taxes.

Northern businesses will benefit by providing services, supplies and materials to the project during the three years of construction.

Is there a federal moratorium preventing tankers from transiting BC’s coastal waters?

There is no federal ban on oil tankers entering BC ports. Oil tankers enter today at the Port of Vancouver and at Kitimat as well. Both the federal and provincial governments, and their respective departments, have confirmed that tankers are currently able to enter BC waters and BC ports.

In fact, over the past 25 years, 1,500 tankers carrying petrochemicals safely entered Kitimat Harbour. And last year, the Port of Vancouver handled more than 180 tanker calls carrying oil, jet fuel and gasoline.

There is a voluntary tanker exclusion zone that keeps tankers moving between Alaska and Washington State away from the BC coastline, but this would not apply to ships entering the Northern Gateway Terminal or other BC ports.

Did you consider running the pipeline to Prince Rupert where a major port already exists?

We considered Prince Rupert and Kitimat as possible locations. We carried out a feasibility study that took into account a number of considerations. The study found that the routes to Prince Rupert were too steep to safely run the pipeline, and that Kitimat was the best and safest option available.

What environmental safeguards will be in place to prevent pipeline leaks?

Enbridge is an industry leader in internal pipeline inspection and invests heavily in innovative leak detection technology. For example, the cutting edge computer system will be used to electronically monitor the pipeline 24/7 from the Enbridge operations control centre. Safety control valves and leak detection systems will also be put into place to provide a strong safeguard for the environment.

For more information, please visit the Pipeline Operations section of the website.

Why can’t the oil from Alberta be refined locally and used in Canada?

Northern Gateway will have the capacity to transport various types of crude oil including upgraded products. Our role is transporting petroleum products on behalf of our customers, who determine where the product will be refined.

What are you doing to gain the support of Aboriginal groups for the project?

Northern Gateway is committed to working with Aboriginal groups to create opportunities for partnerships and to incorporate traditional knowledge into the route planning and operations.

In addition we are exploring potential partnerships such as partial pipeline ownership, employment, skills development and other procurement opportunities.

How do you respond to those who say it’s not a question of if a vessel spill will occur, but when?

Pipeline leaks are rare and spill prevention will be a top priority for Northern Gateway. The key to success is to prevent accidents before they happen through a variety of measures.

Northern Gateway is committed to ensuring that vessels transporting petroleum and condensate via the Kitimat marine terminal will employ the highest worldwide safety and navigational standards. To help ensure those standards are met, Northern Gateway is participating in a voluntary assessment known as the TERMPOL review process, administered by Transport Canada. This review process evaluates marine terminal operations, vessel routing and other marine safety issues. As part of this process, Northern Gateway, together with interested participants, also voluntarily conducted a Quantitative Risk Assessment to quantify the risks associated with the marine components of the project.

The safe passage of marine vessels will be achieved through a comprehensive strategy that brings together the best people, technology and planning.

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  • Albert Wilson, Jun 25th, 2013 (1 year ago)

    As the North American Indians are allodial title holders of North America through their traditional governance the Clanmothers who appoint spokesmen known as Chiefs, they have final say; this is not a government created system such as the Indian Band system which is controlled by the Indian Act and should a North American Indian Nation choose to oppose this proposed pipeline through their traditional Clan mother system CANADA's authority will instruct the Federal and appropriate Provincial governments accordingly in favor of the Clan mothers opposing this pipeline proposal. Enbridge needs to improve relationships with the Indian Bands who are feeling this proposed pipeline is a real threat by looking at each Indian Band individually and see how such fears may be alleviated such as with my people the Heiltsuk who fear our sea resources is at great risk by working with the CANADA and the BC PROVINCIAL governemts and appropriate private corporations to assist the Heiltsuk with Aquaculture developments to better ensure certain key marine species could be enhanced for both food needs and economic benefits; this type of initiative could better shift the Heiltsuk people's feelings from fear to support, especially when we've historically been willing to participate in development when we are included economically. There are government archives that show this and I know this to be still the case. China has potential Investors who are looking for long term sources of seafood supply and as they have a big stake in this proposed pipeline all parties could be sitting down working out equitable arrangements, but this can only happen without the 'blanket and beads' offers (mentality) for the Heiltsuk are not ignorant, nor are they fools.

  • Northern Gateway, May 29th, 2013 (1 year ago)

    Hi Lola, thanks for your question.

    The route map will show you where the construction activity will occur:

    There is more regional information under the Economic Oppurtunity heading as well:

    If you're interested in reading about our efforts to minimize environmental impacts and potential adverse effects, be sure to check out the pages under the Environmental Responsibility heading as well here:

  • Lola, May 29th, 2013 (1 year ago)

    What areas/regions does/will this project affect?

  • Northern Gateway, May 06th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    Hi Jesse, thanks for your question.

    There is a lot of information on this website that will help you to understand how Northern gateway plans to build and operate this Project with environmental protection in mind. Here are a few links for you to start from:

  • jesse, May 06th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    hi i need this for school, do they have confidence that they can complete this project without causing destruction to the enviroment? why or why not? thanks

  • Northern Gateway, Apr 16th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    Hi Roman, thanks for your question.

    Our Environmental Responsibility section outlines the measures we'll take to protect the environment:

  • Roman, Apr 15th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    I have a question. What are some safeguards that Enbridge has put in place to ensure
    that the environment (land and water) is protected?

  • Northern Gateway, Mar 28th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    Hi Alex and Erin, thanks for your questions.

    This video details how the pipeline route will address geotechnical and other topographic challenges:

    This video explains Enbridge's emergency response strategies:

    Aboriginal benefits are outlined in this section of our website:

    The equity ownership offering is for the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

    The electricity used in operations is expected to come from the electrical grid in BC and Alberta.

  • Alex and Erin (High School Students), Mar 26th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    We have a few questions about your pipeline for a class assignment (we are representing your company's point of view in a class discussion). How do you plan to build the pipeline with the Rocky Mountains in the way? How would you clean up a spill physically and chemically (a list of chemicals would be nice)? How would the aboriginals benefit from owning part of the pipeline (would they own part of the company, the project or the physical pipeline) and what cons would there be to owning this part (e.g taxes)? What type of electrical energy will you be using to power the pump stations?

  • Northern Gateway, Mar 07th, 2013 (2 years ago)

    Hi Mike, thanks for your question.

    We too believe environmental protection is the top priority--which is why we've established a pipeline route that uses already disturbed land along over 70 per cent of the proposed right of way. We've also committed to rehabilitating existing linear disturbances to offset our footprint.

    We'd also like to point out that despite the claims of some, the proposed pipeline route does not enter the area commonly referred to as the Great Bear Rainforest. In fact, our marine terminal is located many kilometers east of where the GBR begins. It's true that tankers calling at Kitimat will sail past the GBR region, just as they have for several decades safely. This blog post provides further discussion:

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