Enbridge Inc. plans to twin the southern section of its Athabasca Pipeline from Kirby Lake to the Hardisty crude oil hub at an estimated cost of approximately $1.2 billion to accommodate the need for additional capacity to serve Kirby-area oilsands growth.
The twin line will initially add approximately 450,000 bbls per day of capacity between these points, with low-cost expansion potential to 800,000 bbls per day. 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 kilometres 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 in the Kirby area beyond the expansion of the existing 30-inch pipeline to its maximum capacity of 570,000 bbls per day announced in the fall of 2010. Existing Kirby area volumes will be transferred to the new 36-inch line, freeing up the smaller diameter line to accommodate additional long-haul volumes originating from the Cheecham or Athabasca terminals further upstream on the Athabasca System.
"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," Stephen Wuori, president, liquids pipelines, said in a news release. While the project is anchored by the needs of Enbridge's current connected projects, it is readily expandable to accommodate new projects that are also expected to require pipeline capacity beginning mid-decade, he said.
"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."
The twinning also is expected to deliver significant local benefits. Based on its recent construction experience, Enbridge expects to create about 545 person years of employment in building the twinning project, said Wuori. "As we move through construction, those crews will be purchasing goods and services, as well as housing and food from local retailers. Once in operation, the pipeline will generate significant tax revenues for communities along the right-of-way."
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 and 2015, as well as a significant portfolio of additional projects that are under development to meet oilsands growth.
The 540-kilometre Athabasca Pipeline, which has been in operation since March 1999, has an annual capacity of up to 570,000 bbls per day of crude oil (depending on crude viscosity) from the Athabasca and Cold Lake regions of Alberta south to Hardisty.
The 380-kilometre Waupisoo Pipeline, in operation since June 2008, has an annual capacity of up to 600,000 bbls per day of crude oil (depending on viscosity) from Enbridge's Cheecham Terminal to Edmonton tankage.
Enbridge is also the largest operator of contract storage facilities at the Hardisty hub with the 3.1-million-bbl Hardisty Caverns storage facility, plus the 7.5-million-bbl Hardisty contract terminal surface storage facility.
The company has more than 4.4 million bbls of operational storage associated with the Waupisoo and Athabasca pipelines and laterals.