|Enbridge liquid pipelines with Athabasca twinning project shown. Click to enlarge.
Enbridge Inc. will twin the southern section of its Athabasca Pipeline from the Kirby Lake, Alberta terminal to the Hardisty, Alberta crude oil hub at an estimated cost of approximately C$1.2 billion (US$1.2 billion). The twin line will initially add approximately 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of capacity between these points, with low cost expansion potential to 800,000 bpd. The line is expected to be capable of accepting initial volumes by early 2015, with its full initial capacity available by 2016.
The new line will include approximately 345 kilometers (210 miles) of 36-inch pipeline largely within the existing Athabasca Pipeline right-of-way. The new line is designed to accommodate the need for additional capacity to serve Kirby area oil sands growth beyond the expansion of the existing 30-inch pipeline to its maximum capacity of 570,000 bpd which was announced in the fall of 2010.
Transferring existing Kirby area volumes to the new 36-inch line from the existing 30-inch line will also free up the latter to accommodate additional long-haul volumes originating from the Cheecham or Athabasca terminals further upstream on the Athabasca System.
In addition to the new pipeline, Enbridge is proposing to construct a new pump station at its existing Kirby Lake Terminal and a new pump station at its existing Bonnyville Station as part of the project.
Twinning our Athabasca system south of Kirby represents a highly efficient solution to the needs we are seeing for additional long-haul and short-haul capacity into Hardisty, leveraging off the advantages of our existing asset base and right-of-way. While anchored by the needs of our current connected projects, it is readily expandable to accommodate new projects which are also expected to require pipeline capacity beginning mid-decade. This project is a significant part of our overall plan to provide capacity for rapidly growing production from the Kirby area as well as from growth projects further north in the Athabasca region.—Stephen J. Wuori, President, Liquids Pipelines
|Enbridge is also trying to progress its Northern Gateway Project, a 1,170 km twin pipeline capable of carrying 525,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat on the British Columbia coast and more than 190,000 barrels per day of condensate back from Kitimat to Edmonton. (Earlier post.)
|The $5.5-billion project, originally proposed in 2005, was seen as a way to diversify markets for oil sands crude, with exports targeted for Asia and California.
|Although industry support was initially tepid, support has been growing. However, Enbridge is running into resistance from first nations. On 9 September, the Vancouver Sun reported:
|“A key first nations group has rejected Enbridge’s offer to give aboriginal groups a 10-per-cent ownership stake in the proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline. The five northern B.C. first nations that make up the Yinka Dene Alliance claim traditional territory that covers 25% of the pipeline route. First nations’ support is considered critical to the project because land claims have not been settled along most of the pipeline route through northern BC.”
With the twinning project, Enbridge will have a total of $3.6 billion of planned expansions of or additions to its Regional Oil Sands System which will go into service between 2011 to 2015, as well as a significant portfolio of additional projects which are under development to meet oil sands growth.
Enbridge is the leading pipeline operator in the Fort McMurray to Edmonton/Hardisty corridor and well positioned to tie-in new oil sand developments to mainline pipelines and increase capacity for current customers. Enbridge’s Regional Oil Sands Infrastructure includes the Athabasca and Waupisoo pipeline systems, connecting six producing oil sands projects.
The 540 km (355-mile) Athabasca Pipeline has been in operation since March 1999. It carries up to 570,000 barrels per day of crude oil (depending on crude viscosity) from the Athabasca and Cold Lake regions of Alberta, south to Hardisty, Alberta.
The 380 km (235-mile) Waupisoo Pipeline has been in operation since June 2008. It has an annual capacity of up to 600,000 bpd of crude oil (depending on crude viscosity) from Enbridge’s Cheecham Terminal to Edmonton.
Enbridge is the largest operator of contract storage facilities at the Hardisty hub with the 3.1 million barrel Hardisty Caverns storage facility, plus the 7.5 million barrel Hardisty Contract Terminal surface storage facility. More than 4.4 million barrels of operational storage are associated with the Waupisoo and Athabasca pipelines and laterals.