The six hours on the stand is only a fraction of the time witnesses at the Northern Gateway hearings work each day.
After the hearings conclude at 3:30 p.m. daily at the Ramada, the 13 experts on the current witness panel meet to go over the day's events and begin their homework which ranges from going over the transcript to spotting any errors to fulfilling any undertakings requested by the Joint Review Panel (JRP).
Requests for undertakings occur when witnesses require more time or research to answer a question from an intervener or a JRP panel member.
"It's a very demanding process," Northern Gateway spokesman Todd Nogier said, noting some nights the witnesses could be working until midnight and they still need to be up for a morning meeting prior to the 8:30 a.m. start of the proceedings the following day.
Heading into Tuesday's hearings the company has been asked to complete 47 undertakings dating back to January. Most recently, Kandace Kerr of the Fort St. James Sustainability Group asked the company to provide confirmation on how many occupied residences are located within 1.5 kilometres of the pump station proposed for her community.
Many of the undertakings completed within days of their request, but more complex queries require more time. The witnesses are able to seek assistance from their support staff in completing the undertakings.
The requests by interveners to have the witnesses complete the undertakings is not automatic. The company can object, as Northern Gateway lawyer Dennis Langen did Tuesday when the Haisla Nation requested a map showing how far the projected flow of oil spills could be from existing roads.
Langen argued that since it would require an extensive amount of work to complete and would be provided at a later date anyway, there was little value to providing it to the Haisla Nation at this stage. Instead he suggested Northern Gateway could provide the intervener on Wednesday with its framework for how it will develop its oil spill response plan.
That didn't sit will with Haisla lawyer Jennifer Griffith. She contended the information is needed so her group can test whether or not the company can quickly respond to spills.
"What Mr. Langen is offering is a plan for developing a plan," she said. "As this stage we're looking for information on the potential effects of a spill."
After a lengthy back-and-forth between the two lawyers as well as JRP chairwoman Sheila Leggett, Griffith's request was denied.
"It's always a delicate balance [determining] how much information is required in advance and how much is required post-project approval," Leggett said. "We believe the information on the record [at the moment] is adequate."
That meant a little less homework - and maybe a little more sleep - for the witnesses on Tuesday night.