On March 27, 2013, the NEB issued its decision on our application to change the business structure and the terms and conditions of service for the Canadian Mainline, including tolls for 2012 and 2013.
The NEB approved several of our proposed changes, including the Canadian Mainline's revenue requirement for 2011 and 2012. At the same time, the NEB agreed with us that the Canadian Mainline has been significantly affected by market forces with the result that throughput has decreased significantly, and as a result, the Canadian Mainline tolls have increased over a short period of time eroding the Canadian Mainline's competitiveness. The response of the NEB was to adopt a multi-year fixed tolls approach which it believes will provide shippers with greater toll certainty and stability. Under the decision, long-term firm tolls are fixed through 2017 (subject to being re-opened under certain circumstances) at what the NEB determined is a competitive level. Although long-term firm tolls are fixed, the Canadian Mainline has been given pricing discretion for interruptible and short-term firm services. The NEB concluded in the decision that this framework will provide us with reasonable opportunity to recover our costs, over a reasonable period of time. Under or over collection variances to the revenue requirement inclusive of the return on and of capital will be carried over in deferral accounts to be dealt with in future NEB proceedings in 2017 (or earlier under certain circumstances). At that time, the NEB will determine how any variances contained in the deferral accounts will be addressed and the extent of cost disallowances, if any. As a result of the multi-year fixed tolls and increased risk associated with fluctuations in cash flow, the NEB increased the allowed return to 11.50 per cent on 40 per cent equity ratio.
The decision significantly alters the regulatory framework that has formed the basis for more than $10 billion of regulated pipeline investment over the last sixty years. We have determined that we will seek regulatory and potentially legal review and variance of certain aspects of the decision.
The Alberta System is now known as the NGTL System to better reflect the service provided and continued growth in British Columbia.
Our application to contract for capacity on the Canadian Mainline and Foothills Pipelines was denied as part of the NEB's decision regarding the Canadian Restructuring Proposal. Therefore, the location of our export delivery will remain at Empress and the Alberta/BC border.
NGTL System expansion projects
We have been continuing our expansion of the NGTL System and have placed approximately $340 million of new facilities into service to date in 2013. We have applied and received approval from the NEB for an additional $300 million of new facilities with in-service dates planned for later in 2013. The NEB has also recommended approval for the Chinchaga lateral, an approximate $100 million project, that is planned to be placed in service in early 2014. To date in 2013, we have applied for an additional $60 million of facilities and are planning regulatory applications for further expansion into B.C. which we estimate will cost between $1.0 billion and $1.5 billion to accommodate the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project.
Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project
We signed the project development agreement for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project with Progress Energy Canada Ltd. in February 2013 and are now working to initiate the environmental assessment process, including developing and filing the project description that we plan to submit to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in second quarter 2013.
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