2017 Harvest

2017 Harvest

Monday, August 20, 2012

Trial ordered for pipeline right-of-way abandonment case

Calgary landowner Genstar Development Company applied to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench remove a right of way held by Plains Midstream Canada ULC from title to its property.  Plains Midstream opposed proceeding on the basis of an application with written materials, arguing that a trial was necessary.

In the 1950's, Cremona Pipe Lines Ltd. constructed the Cremona Pipeline stretching 444 km between Calgary and Sundre.  Cremona had an Easement Agreement with one of Genstar's predecessors in title.  The Agreement provided that it would be binding on all future owners of the land and would remain in effect from May 19, 1956 and "for so long thereafter as [Cremona] may desire to exercise" its rights and privileges.

While the northernmost 314 km of the pipeline remains in operation, operation of the southernmost 130 km was suspended by Pembina Pipeline Corporation (a Genstar predecessor) in 1997; the pipeline under the lands owned by Genstar was removed from the ground.  In 2009, Plains Midstream purchased the line from Pembina, including the rights of way under all lands along the Cremona Pipeline.

In 2010 and subsequently, Genstar asked Plains Midstream to discharge the right of way on its lands.  Plains Midstream responded with an offer to re-route its right of way, but Genstar eventually commenced the court application. 

In reviewing the application materials, the Court concluded that a trial would be necessary in order to have all of the evidence required to answer the legal issues in play: "Given the complex and unsettled legal issues identified above, it is my view that any decision in this case should be founded on complete and nuanced findings of fact resulting from a trial, rather than on a paper record resulting from an originating application."

Read the decision at: Genstar Development Company v. Plains Midstream Canada ULC.