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Industry Definitions

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abandoned well

A well not in use because it was a dry hole originally, or because it has ceased to produce.

abandonment and reclamation

The act of permanently stopping operations, removing facilities and restoring land to a productive state.

aboriginal person

Any Indian, Inuit or Métis person who was born in the Northwest Territories or who is descended from an aboriginal person born in the Northwest Territories.

Aboriginal Pipeline Group

The Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline Corporation and, when formed, the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline Limited Partnership.

access road

A temporary or permanent road that provides access to a pipeline right-of-way or to a facility, and which is not open to the general public.

all-weather road

A paved or unpaved, i.e., gravel, road that is open to traffic all year.

anchor fields

The three natural-gas fields, Taglu, Parsons Lake and Niglintgak, whose production will provide the basic volume of gas shipped in the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.


The abbreviation for Aboriginal Pipeline Group.


Unit of measure for the actual time a facility, pipeline, or other equipment is capable of providing service, if called upon.


The fill material used to cover a completed pipeline. Adequate fill material is provided above and below the pipe to prevent damage caused by loose rock, abrasion, shifting or washouts.


A surveyed condition that serves as a reference point to which later surveys are coordinated or correlated.


The abbreviation for barrels per day.


The abbreviation for billion cubic feet per day.


The solid rock underlying soil or any other surface cover.

benefits plan

A plan to provide aboriginal and non-aboriginal northerners and other Canadians with a fair opportunity to participate competitively in supplying the goods, services and personnel required by the project.

borrow site

An area that could be excavated to provide material, such as gravel or sand, to be used as fill elsewhere.


Steel pipe placed in an oil or gas well as drilling progresses, to prevent the wall of the hole from caving in during drilling, to prevent seepage of fluids, and to provide a means of extracting petroleum if the well is productive.


The abbreviation for Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Also, the abbreviation for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.


The abbreviation for cubic feet per day.

chain-and-bucketwheel trencher

A large excavating device that uses multiple buckets on a digging wheel.

coating, pipe

A material that forms a continuous film over the surface of a pipe, and which may be used internally or externally, to prevent corrosion damage.


The abbreviation for Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.

Commissioner’s land

Land that is controlled, managed and administered by the Government of the Northwest Territories.


The act of charging a system and doing checkouts to ensure that equipment functions safely before start-up.

Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements

Agreements negotiated to clarify the rights of aboriginal groups to land and resources in a way that facilitates their economic growth and self-sufficiency. Such claims are negotiated in areas where aboriginal title has not been dealt with by treaty or other legal methods. They include The Western Arctic Claim, i.e., The Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984), the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (1992), and the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (1993).

compression, gas

The process of increasing the pressure on gas to reduce its volume or cause it to flow. Natural gas is usually compressed for pipeline transportation.

compressor station

A facility containing equipment that is used to increase pressure to compress natural gas for transportation.

Conceptual Engineering Phase

The phase of a project preceding the Preliminary Engineering Phase that includes evaluating a broad variety of development options and testing them against project development criteria, to determine a conceptual plan.


The abbreviation for ConocoPhillips Canada (North) Limited.

Construction Phase

The phase of a project preceding the Operations Phase, during which project facilities and infrastructure are assembled and installed on their foundations, and connected and tested, to ensure that they operate as designed.

consultation, public

The process of involving all affected parties in the design, planning and operation of a project. The process requires that the proponents give the parties to be consulted notice of the matter in sufficient form and detail to allow them to prepare their views on the matter. They are also given a reasonable amount of time to prepare their views and an opportunity to present their views to the proponents, who consider the views presented, fully and impartially.


A substance that makes another substance impure when mixed with it.

Crown land

Land whose mineral rights are owned by the federal or provincial governments in Canada.


The act of taking a processing plant or facility out of service and isolating equipment, to prepare for routine maintenance work, suspending or abandoning.


The process of removing water or water vapour from gas or oil.


The process of moving people, supplies and equipment from the work site to another location.


Of or relating to the dynamic balance of a population, especially with regard to its density and capacity for expansion or decline.

Detailed Engineering Phase

The phase in a project preceding the Construction Phase that involves creating equipment specifications, detailed construction drawings and related engineering documents.

development well

A well that is drilled after an exploration well has confirmed the presence of oil or gas in a formation.


The abbreviation for Department of Indian and Northern Development

directional drilling

A drilling method in which the wellbore intentionally deviates from the vertical.

domestic waste

Waste products, such as sewage, typically generated in camps.


Pertaining to the wellbore.

drilling mud

The fluid circulated through the wellbore during rotary drilling.


The abbreviation for Environmental Impact Assessment.


The abbreviation for Environmental Impact Statement.

environmental impact assessment

The process of evaluating the biophysical, social and economic effects of a proposed project.

environmental impact statement

A report containing the environmental impact assessment.

environmental management plan

A description of what will be done to minimize effects before, during and after project construction and operation. This includes protecting the environment and reducing effects from project activities.

exploration well

A well that is drilled primarily to determine if oil or gas actually exists in a subsurface rock formation.


The abbreviation for ExxonMobil Canada Properties.

Final Agreement

The outcome of successful land claim and self-government negotiations among an aboriginal group, the province or territory, and the federal government. It concerns all relevant issues, such as resources, self-government, financial benefits and land ownership, and must be ratified by all parties.

flare system

An arrangement of piping and burners used to dispose of surplus combustible vapours by igniting them in the atmosphere.

flow line

A pipe through which gas travels from a well to processing equipment or to storage. The pipe is either buried, or installed above-ground.

frost heave

Movement of the soil resulting from alternate thawing and freezing.

gas hydrate plug

A mixture of water and gas that forms a solid plug in a gas pipeline under certain conditions. Also known as hydrate.

gas, natural

A compressible mixture of hydrocarbons with a low specific gravity that occurs naturally in a gaseous form.

gathering system

A system of pipelines, compressor stations, NGL and other related facilities that gather natural gas and associated NGLs from the supply region and transport it to the transmission pipeline system.


A group of compounds, such as ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol, used to dehydrate gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons, to inhibit the formation of hydrates, or to cool fluids (liquid or gas), by acting as a heat transfer medium.


The abbreviation for Government of the Northwest Territories.

grade, pipe

A designation of the pipe based on strength. Grade designation is nondimensional, but numerically equivalent to the specified minimum yield strength in megapascals. Grade 359 pipe material is equivalent to Grade X-52. Grade 550 pipe material is equivalent to Grade X-80.

grading, pipeline

The process of constructing a work area to facilitate moving personnel, equipment and material onto and along a right-of-way. The process includes levelling, cutting and filling. The travel surface is similar to a winter road.

granular resources

Material deposits that have a granulated surface or structure, such as gravel.


The water within the earth that supplies water wells and springs.


The part of the physical environment in which a plant or animal lives.

hazardous material

Any material that presents a potential for unwanted consequences to people, property and the environment.

heritage resources

Any tangible or intangible product of human or natural history that has the potential to have scientific, educational, aesthetic, cultural, or social meaning or value for present or future generations.

horizontal directional drilling

A river crossing technique used in pipeline construction in which the pipe is buried under the riverbed at depths much greater than conventional crossings. An inverted arc-shaped hole is drilled beneath the river and the preassembled pipeline is pulled through it.


A mixture of water and gas that forms a solid plug in a gas pipeline under certain conditions. Also known as gas hydrate plug.


Organic compounds of hydrogen and carbon whose densities, boiling points, and freezing points increase as their molecular weights increase. Petroleum is a mixture of many different hydrocarbons.


The science dealing with the occurrence of ground water, its use and its functions in modifying the earth, primarily by erosion and deposition.


The science that treats the occurrence, circulation, distribution and properties of the waters of the earth and their reaction with the environment.

ice road

A secondary road made of compact snow or ice, often plowed over a frozen lake or ground, and which is impassable in the summer. Also known as winter road.


The abbreviation for Imperial Oil Limited and its affiliates.


The abbreviation for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada


A specific unplanned event or sequence of events that has an unwanted and unintended effect on people’s safety or health, on property or the environment, or on regulatory compliance.

infill compression

A method of increasing capacity on a gas pipeline by installing compression facilities between initial compressor stations.


Basic facilities, such as transportation, communications, power supplies and buildings, which enable an organization, project or community to function.

inlet separator

A vessel located at the entrance to a hydrocarbon facility that separates the incoming stream into different components, such as gas and liquids.

Land Use Permit

A permit issued by the designated managing body for a specific tract of land, allowing for an activity to be conducted on that land, as described in a land use application.

line heater

Equipment used to increase the temperature of natural gas flowing in a pipeline.

line pipe

Sections of pipe that can be welded together to form a pipeline.

liquefied natural gas

Supercooled natural gas that is maintained as a liquid at –160°C. As this gas occupies 1/640th of its original volume, it is easier to transport if pipelines cannot be used.


The abbreviation for liquefied natural gas.


The activities associated with procuring, maintaining and transporting materials, equipment and personnel.


The metric symbol for cubic metres per day.

Memorandum of Understanding

The written statement, signed on October 15, 2001, and ratified by Imperial, the APG, ConocoPhillips, Shell and ExxonMobil, identifying mutually acceptable principles and arrangements for the economic and timely development of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline.


To cause to become less harsh or hostile.


The metric symbol for million cubic metres per day.


To move people or equipment to the work site.


The process of assembling components into larger constructed modules in areas remote from the construction site.


The abbreviation for Memorandum of Understanding.

mud, drilling

The fluid circulated through the wellbore during rotary drilling.


The abbreviation for Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.

natural gas

A compressible mixture of hydrocarbons with a low specific gravity that occurs naturally in a gaseous form.

natural gas liquids

Hydrocarbons that are gaseous in the reservoir, but that will separate out in liquid form at the pressures and temperatures at which separators normally operate. The liquids consist of varying proportions of butane, propane, pentane and heavier fractions, with little or no methane or ethane.


The abbreviation for the National Energy Board.


The abbreviation for natural gas liquid.

nonrenewable resources

Resources, such as fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) and minerals that occur naturally but cannot be replaced once removed.

North, the

The Arctic, or the northern part of a province.

Open Season Expression of Interest

A process whereby pipeline owners publicly advertise and invite interested companies to indicate their interest in shipping gas in a pipeline.


A river crossing technique used in pipeline construction where a trench is cut into a river bed.

Operations Phase

The phase of a project during which the pipeline and associated facilities are operated.

organic matter

The fraction of a soil that contains plant and animal residues in various stages of decomposition.

organic soil

Any soil consisting chiefly of, or containing at least 30% of, organic matter.

overwintering habitat

A habitat used by a species to survive the winter.


The surface parts of a multiwell drilling or production site, including wells, buildings, piping and electrical facilities.


Ground frozen through all seasons of the year, occurring wherever the temperature remains below 0°C for several years.


The capacity of a porous rock, soil or sediment for transmitting a fluid without damage to the structure of the medium.


The act of pushing a device through a pipeline in order to physically clean deposits from the inner surface of the pipeline, or to remove liquids.

pigging facilities

Pipeline in-line inspection and cleaning tool receivers and launchers.


The abbreviation for Preliminary Information Package.

pipeline spread

The equipment and crew needed to build a pipeline.

Preliminary Engineering Phase

The phase of a project preceding the Detailed Engineering Phase that includes establishing design standards and recommendations for initiating detailed design.

Preliminary Information Package

The initial report submitted by the proponents of a proposed project, indicating their intentions and providing information relevant to the project.


Activities that must take place to obtain, on schedule and at optimum price, materials or services needed to construct a project.


The operation of bringing raw natural gas to the surface for processing.

project proponents

The five organizations (Imperial, the APG, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Exxon Mobil) that are undertaking the Mackenzie Gas Project.

public consultation

The process of involving all affected parties in the design, planning and operation of a project. The process requires that the proponents give the parties to be consulted notice of the matter in sufficient form and detail to allow them to prepare their views on the matter. They are also given a reasonable amount of time to prepare their views and an opportunity to present their views to the proponents, who consider the views presented, fully and impartially.

public land

All land owned by the federal, provincial or territorial governments.

pumping station

A facility containing equipment that is used to increase the pressure of a liquid, such as NGL, for further transportation in a pipeline.


The process of returning land to a productive state.


The government departments or agencies that issue licences, permits or authorizations likely to be applied for in respect of a proposed project.

regulatory review

For the Mackenzie Gas Project, the processes related to a review of a certificate under the NEBA, applications under COGOA, land use permits and water licences under the NWT Waters Act, the MVRMA and others.


A subsurface, porous, permeable rock body containing a natural accumulation of oil or gas, or both.


The right of passage or of crossing over someone else's land. Also, an easement in lands belonging to others that is obtained by agreement or lawful appropriation for public or private use.

rotary drilling

The method for drilling wells using a cutting bit attached to a revolving drill pipe.


The abbreviation for Socio-Economic Impact Assessment.

seismic program

A study to obtain detailed information from earth vibrations that are produced naturally or artificially (as in geophysical prospecting).

service rig

A hoist and engine, mounted on a wheel chassis with a self-erecting mast, that is used to service wells.

settlement area

The main area where an aboriginal group traditionally lived and pursued their livelihood. Rights and benefits defined by the Final Agreement, such as rights to hunt and fish, or economic benefits, such as consultation on exploration and development, may extend to the whole settlement area.


The abbreviation for Shell Canada Limited.


An individual or company that contracts with a gathering, transmission or distribution system for transporting natural gas.


The act of stopping work temporarily or stopping a machine or piece of equipment in operation.

Significant Discovery Licence

A licence, issued under the provisions of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, which allows the licence holder to explore, drill and test for petroleum and to develop frontier lands to produce petroleum.

single-phase design

Separate pipelines for natural gas and for NGLs.


A plank or roller on which a heavy object may be placed to facilitate moving.

slug catcher

A vessel or series of pipes to collect liquids at the inlet of a compressor station.


The study of social and economic factors.

southern terminus

The southernmost point of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline where the transmission system connects either directly with the Alberta natural gas pipeline system in northwestern Alberta or to a third-party extension that subsequently connects to the Alberta system.

spring break-up

The time of year when the temperature rises sufficiently to thaw ice, causing it to break up in rivers, allowing them to become navigable.

staging area

An area used by migratory birds to prepare for, or rest during, migratory flights.

staging site

A location where equipment is stored, maintained or readied for work.


The act of recommencing work or starting up machinery or equipment after a temporary shutdown or decommissioning.


A storage supply of something, such as line pipe or soil, to be used later.


The process of delivering and distributing line pipe and joints where and when they are needed along the right-of-way. Pipe is strung so that the movement of livestock and vehicles is not impeded.

subsurface rights

The rights to exploit oil, gas and mineral resources and to benefit from the development of resources and minerals found beneath the ground.

surface rights

The rights to work on the surface of the land only, mineral rights being reserved.

sustainable development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

sweet natural gas

Gas that has no more than the maximum sulphur content, as defined by the specifications for the sales gas from a plant or by a legal body.


The terms and conditions under which the service of a pipeline is offered or provided, including the tolls, the rules and regulations, and the practices relating to specific services.


The abbreviation for trillion cubic feet.


The amount of material put through a process or pipeline.


The abbreviation for traditional knowledge.


The fee charged by a pipeline company for the use of its facilities.


The configuration of a surface, including its relief and natural and artificial features.

traditional harvest

Activities involving the harvest of traditional resources, such as hunting and trapping, fishing, gathering medicinal plants, and travelling to engage in these activities.

traditional knowledge

Cultural knowledge that is based on direct observation or information passed on orally from other community members, developed from centuries of experience of living off the land.

TransCanada PipeLines

The abbreviation for TransCanada PipeLines Limited.

transmission pipeline

A system of pipelines, compressor stations and other related facilities that transport natural gas from the gathering system to the southern terminus.


A vast treeless zone, lying between the ice cap and the timberline of North America, Europe and Asia, that has a permanently frozen subsoil.

two-phase design

A single pipeline for natural gas and NGLs.


Water that is mostly vapour condensed from natural gas and any free water produced with the natural gas.

water crossing

A location where a pipeline crosses a stream or a river.


The hole drilled by the bit in a well.


The equipment installed at the surface of the wellbore.

winter road

A secondary road made of compact snow or ice, often plowed over a frozen lake or ground, and which is impassable in the summer. Also known as ice road.


One or more of a variety of remedial operations performed on a producing oil or gas well, to try to increase production.

workover rig

A portable rig used for working over a well.

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