Enbridge to expand Athabasca crude oil pipeline

Enbridge Inc. said it will construct a twin to the southern section of its Athabasca Pipeline from Kirby Lake, Alta., to the crude oil hub at Hardisty, Alta., at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

“The expansion of the Athabasca oil pipeline system is in line with expectations of more in situ oil sands extraction in the Kirby Lake area,” said Andrew Neff of IHS Global Insight.

Neff reported that 130,000 b/d of oil is produced in the Kirby Lake area now but 1.4 million b/d of production is planned or in development, underling the need for the additional pipeline capacity.

The twin line will initially add 450,000 b/d of capacity between Kirby Lake and Hardisty, with what Enbridge called “low-cost expansion potential to 800,000 b/d.”

It said 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 345 km of 36-in. pipe largely within the existing Athabasca Pipeline right-of-way.

Enbridge also said the expansion is designed to accommodate the need for additional capacity to serve Kirby area oil sands growth, beyond the expansion of the existing 30-in. line to its maximum capacity of 570,000 b/d.

Transferring existing Kirby area volumes from the existing 30-in. line will also enable it to accommodate additional long-haul volumes coming from the Cheecham or Athabasca terminals further upstream on the Athabasca system.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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