Allow me to predict the future, they aren't all gonna happen. I also predict the Kinder Morgan pipeline to Vancouver will die. Pipelines used to be easy to build, not no more. The Keystone pipeline from Alberta straight to the USA is a gimme though from the Alta point of view-still being in the 1970s. Ontario and China will get a pipe, but not Vancouver.
TransCanada eyes oil line expansions south and east
Refiling for Keystone XL permit “imminent” as eastern line considered
By Rebecca Penty, Calgary Herald April 30, 2012
TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said a refiling for U.S. approval of the Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline is “imminent,” and that the company is examining the concept of shipping western crude to eastern Canadian refineries, through its mainline gas line that would be reconfigured.
Photograph by: TODD KOROL , REUTERS
CALGARY — TransCanada Corp. is advancing pipeline plans to move growing volumes of crude from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast just as it considers linking western Canadian production to new markets in Eastern Canada.
Canada’s largest pipeline company based in Calgary is set to re-apply for U.S. federal approval to build its proposed Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline while it also examines reconfiguring part of its Canadian mainline gas line into a conduit for oil. A repurposed mainline could deliver up to 800,000 barrels per day, according to the proposal, to eastern Canadian refineries eyeing western crude that’s selling at a bargain to world prices.
TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said Friday that a refiling with the U.S. State Department is “imminent,” for a permit to build the cross-border portion of the $7.6-billion Keystone XL expected online by late 2014 or early 2015, while the firm plans to start a summer build of the southern leg of the line from Cushing, Okla. to the Texas Gulf Coast that doesn’t require presidential approval — split from the larger project in February and expected in service in mid to late 2013.
Girling told reporters following the company’s annual general meeting that last week’s submission by TransCanada to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality of several alternative pipeline routes around ecologically sensitive lands in the state moves toward satisfying the State Department’s request last November for more study of Keystone XL.
That additional review delayed assessment of the 2,700-kilometre line, then U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the project in January when Congress forced him to make a quick decision.
“Now, we’re in a position to make our application,” Girling said.
TransCanada, which reported a 14 per cent decline in first-quarter profit on Friday on a downturn in North America’s gas industry caused by decade-low prices, is studying ways to revive its mainline business that’s been hit by declining throughput — volume on the system was less than half its capacity during the quarter on what Girling called the warmest winter in 100 years.
That could mean switching one or more pipes on the five-pipe, roughly 14,000-kilometre mainline that stretches from Alberta to Quebec over to oil — either 30- or 40-inch pipes — to deliver between 300,000 barrels per day and 800,000 barrels per day, Girling said.
“We have a lot of work to do, technically, we have a lot of work to do with our shippers, but at that 30,000-foot level, it seems to make sense to people,” Girling said. “We’re going to actively pursue it and see if we can understand it and turn it into an opportunity for both the oil and gas industry and TransCanada.”
Montreal-based research analyst Pierre Lacroix, of Desjardins Securities, said the idea is based on two top-of-mind rationales, that the mainline needs higher volumes and that eastern Canadian refineries are seeking lower-price feedstock than the global barrels they import, which can be satisfied with western Canadian production.
Light and heavy varieties of Canadian crude have faced steep per-barrel price discounts this year to the U.S. West Texas Intermediate benchmark — more than $30 in March for Western Canada Select — on growing production, pipeline bottlenecks and refinery downtime in the U.S. Midwest. WTI has already been hit with a wide differential from the much-pricier North Sea Brent crude for more than a year.
Refineries in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada can together process 1.2 million barrels per day.
“It’s certainly something that can be entertained at high-level discussions but a lot of details probably need to be nailed down,” Lacroix said.
The mainline, originally six pipes in some areas, had its Line 1 which near Winnipeg juts south over the border converted in 2010 to oil, for the Canadian portion of TransCanada’s first Keystone oil pipeline to Steele City, Neb. Another potential conversion to Eastern Canada is in the “early days,” Girling said, declining to offer a timeline or other details.
“There’s technical feasibility, there’s regulatory process, there’s the right-of-way, there’s a whole host of things.”
Also being examined is a build of about 75 kilometres of new pipe to deliver crude from the end of the mainline in Quebec to the St. Lawrence Seaway, where it could be moved by barge to the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, N.B. — Canada’s largest.
Irving Oil has been bringing in crude from the west by rail to supply its 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery in recent months and is working on inking long-term supply contracts for continental crude.
TransCanada’s public discussion of moving western oil east on Friday follows a slew of musings from business and political leaders about a Canadian refining sector running on Canadian oil, following the delay and later, rejection, of the Keystone XL line, and recent acknowledgment by Enbridge Inc. that it’s examining a full reversal of its Line 9 oil line so it flows from Sarnia, Ont. to Montreal, citing interest from refineries and producers.
Canada’s largest oilsands producer Suncor Energy Inc., with a refinery in Montreal, has publicly supported moving oil from the West to the East.
TransCanada shares closed up six cents at $43.19 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, on a day the company released quarterly results that came in below a consensus of expectations from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.Net income fell to $352 million, or 50 cents a share, from $411 million, or 59 cents a share, during the same period last year. Comparable earnings, which exclude most one-time items, dropped to $363 million, or 52 cents a share, from $423 million, or 61 cents a share. Total revenue rose two per cent to $1.91 billion.
TransCanada said it was hit by lower contributions from its mainline gas pipeline as well as from U.S. gas pipelines, gas storage and power, and lower contributions from its Bruce Power division in Ontario on maintenance outages. Partially offsetting lower revenues were incremental earnings from the Keystone oil line and other recently commissioned assets, the company said.