By making this information available, the Manitoba Surface Rights Association and it's officers is not engaged in providing legal advice. We strongly advise all users to contact their lawyer for further legal advice on any questions they may have about the information provided.
There is a continuing impact of having Pipelines/Flow lines on your property.
Consider the following:
Landowner Rights Diminished:You are giving up some of your Rights on the line Right of Way for many years. (Some flow lines in Manitoba are still in active operation fifty years later). There may be strict limitations on any form of construction of buildings, erecting a fence, planting shelterbelt trees, creating a dugout or possibly undertaking any forms of legal drainage/soil excavation over a line Right of Way. (See letter from Petroleum Branch - Pipelines and Right of Ways).
Increased Risk of Environmental Damage to the Land: There is also the possibility of a flow line or pipeline break and a leak or spill (Sec 101-104) which could cause environmental damage and further disruptions on and possibly off the Right of Way. Some spills caused by salt water flow line breaks that occurred over 40 years ago are still not fully reclaimed and annual crop loss compensation continues to be paid by the Oil & Gas Company .There is no absolute guarantee that all of these severely damaged areas will ever be fully reclaimed. Oil & Gas companies do realize they have a liability in such instances and the landowner (and future landowners) should continue to receive annual crop loss compensation while restoration continues. In the future, as oil or gas reserves are depleted the wells may be abandoned. There is no 100% guarantee that all Oil & Gas companies will be able to continue to fund their liabilities. The Manitoba Government's Abandonment Fund Reserve Account may not be able to fund all of the liabilities either. As more wells are drilled and more flow lines are installed we believe this becomes an issue of increasing concern.
Increased Liability to the Landowner: Liability issues can have tremendous financial implications - in the event the landowner or his agent(s) severs a line they could be liable for the costs associated with the cleanup and repair, loss of the oil or gas from the leak and loss of business associated with the disruption.
Inconvenience: In the case of pipelines or flow lines you should always "call before you dig". Often Oil and Gas Companies send out a surveying company to locate and identify active or abandoned lines prior to you excavating. This is a necessary step but causes increased inconvenience and may delay the project you are undertaking.
Abandoned Flow Lines - There is also the liability issue after the company abandons a line no longer in use. (Who "owns" the line and who holds the liability after the line is abandoned?) You may want to consult a lawyer and have this covered in the initial agreement. Our Association believes that the factors listed above, lead to devalued property values without some form of annual compensation to offset.
"The Abandonment Fund Reserve Account (“the Abandonment Fund”) is established under Section 172 of The Oil and Gas Act (“the Act”). The Abandonment Fund may be used as a source of funds to operate or abandon a well or facility that is non-compliant with the Act where the licensee or permittee of the well or facility fails to comply. The Abandonment Fund may also be used to rehabilitate the site of an abandoned well or facility or to address any adverse effect on property caused by a well or facility. Expenditure from the Abandonment Fund on behalf of a licensee or permittee automatically creates a debt of the licensee or permittee to the Crown." (As stated in Informational Notice 05-04 for Fiscal Year End March 31/05 Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy & Mines).The Annual Report for the Fiscal Year ending March 31, 2009 can be found here.