Plains' Canadian Pipeline Expansion Will Connect To Texas

Plains All American has proposed pipeline expansions in Canada, Montana and Wyoming in order to connect to the $2.5 billion Red Oak pipeline system that Houston’s Phillips 66 and Plains are building from Oklahoma to Houston, Beaumont and Corpus Christi. While the Keystone XL pipeline project is still fighting legal battles, these expansions, set to complete in 2021, would allow more Canadian crude oil to reach Houston and the Gulf Coast.

Tyler Rimbey, executive Vice President for Canadian Plains stated, “We remain focused on leveraging our existing systems in creative ways to meet the growing needs of our customers.”

The reasonably priced expansions include Plains’ Western Corridor pipeline in Montana and Wyoming to grow as well as their Rangeland Pipeline, running from Edmonton to the U.S./Canadian border, to increase by 2X.

The Red Oak pipelines will be located from an oil storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma to Wichita Falls, Texas and handle a mix of Canadian and Texas crude oil. From Wichita Falls, the pipelines should connect to systems from the Permian Basin, then lead towards Sealy and onwards to different refining and port hubs in Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Houston and Beaumont.

Houston Chronicle

$23 Million Marketing Effort Intends to Bolster Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Among Albertans

Alberta’s government is ramping up their Trans Mountain pipeline expansion marketing efforts through a $23.4 million effort.

The campaign is called “Keep Canada Working”, and is aimed at getting people to support the project by educating them of the economic benefits.

“It is a win to make sure that more Canadians understand it (Trans Mountain) better than maybe they did a few years ago,” Notley said Thursday.

 “It is actually about the economic prosperity and security of Canadians from across this country.”

 Alberta’s United Conservative Party Opposition says the market campaign is too late. A spokeswoman from the party says merits of the project should have been promoted earlier.

The Federal Court of Appeal quashed Ottawa’s approval of the project in August on the basis of the NEB’s failure to fully examine the project’s effects on ocean ecosystem, including endangered killer whales.

It also found Canada failed to meaningfully consult with First Nations.


Enbridge Acquires Houston's Spectra Energy for $3.3 Billion

Enbridge has secured a $3.3 billion deal to buy Houston-based Spectra Energy Partners LP.

The deal will serve as a merger and acquisition agreement in which Spectra Energy’s shareholders will receive 1.111 shares in Enbridge stock for each share of Spectra Energy stock.

With a value of more than $3.3 billion, the deal creates one of the largest midstream companies in North America.

Pipeline Town Hall will continue to share more information as it is reported.

Houston Chron

Keystone XL Will Undergo Another Environmental Review

The long-pending Keystone XL oil pipeline will undergo another environmental review by the U.S. State Department, officials said on Friday.

The news could lead to additional delays of the project.

On Nov. 8, Judge Brian Morris of the U.S District Court in Montana said that the previous environmental analysis of Keystone XL fell short of a “hard” look at the cumulative effects of greenhouse emissions and the impact of Native American land resources.

The $8 billion pipeline has been pending for a decade now. It is supported by Canadian oil interests and U.S. refiners.

Earlier this week, TransCanada asked the District Court judge to allow the company to resume some U.S. based pre-construction activities that were blocked in the initial ruling.

“It is too soon to say what the injunction will mean to the timeline of the Keystone XL pipeline but we remain confident the project will be built,” a TransCanada spokesman said.


Enbridge’s Largest U.S. - Mexico Pipeline to have Completion Delayed Until Next Year

A large natural gas pipeline from Texas to Mexico has had its completion delayed until April 2019 due to weather conditions that complicated the Mexican portion of the project’s completion.
The 2.6 billion cubic feet a day Valley Crossing Pipeline is being built by Enbridge, who has asked for a six-month extension for putting the Valley Crossing Pipeline into operation. Operations were scheduled to start this month, but the delay will push it back until April 23, 2019.

According to Enbridge, the delay comes from the inability to test the pipeline because of issues with the Mexican side of the pipeline, which connects with the Enbridge section offshore from Brownsville in the Gulf of Mexico. Infraestructura Marina de Golfo, a joint venture between the Canadian Pipeline and storage company TransCanada and Sempra Energy of San Diego, is responsible for the Mexican portion’s construction.

After its completion, the pipeline would be the largest natural gas pipeline flowing from the U.S. to Mexico. Exports by pipeline from the U.S. to Mexico have more than doubled since 2014.

Houston Chron

$4.8 Billion Allocated to Pipeline as Shell's Massive $31 Billion LNG Project Gets Approved

The $31 billion LNG Canada project led by Royal Dutch Shell was approved on Tuesday, making it the fuel’s first major new project to win approval in recent years.

Construction will start immediately, with first shipments expected before 2025. The aim is to feed the surging demand from Asian buyers, primarily China.

The project will deliver LNG to Asia in about half the time it would take if it was coming from the U.S. Gulf Coast, LNG Canada said.

The project’s $31 billion price tag includes the export terminal, the associated pipeline, pre-construction and site work, contingency and upstream carrying costs.

The Coastal GasLink Pipeline will be in the $4.8 billion range.

Construction on the pipeline is expected in early 2019. Pipeline operator TransCanada Corp will build the pipelines which will carry natural gas from Montney gas-producing region of British Columbia and Alberta to the LNG Canada facility.

The project owners will provide their own natural gas supply and will individually market their share of LNG.

LNG Canada is the biggest greenfield project to be approved globally since Russia’s Yamal LNG in 2013, Dulles Wang, director, North America gas at Wood Mackenzie said in an email note.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the project, which will be built in the northern community of Kitimat, British Columbia, marks the largest private-sector investment project in Canadian history.

“We can’t build energy projects like we did in the old days where the environment and the economy were seen as opposing forces,” Trudeau said. “They must go together.”


Ottawa Puts 22 Week Limit for Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion’s Future

Ottawa has given pipeline regulators 22 weeks to review the Trans Mountain expansion project on Friday morning after National Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the National Energy Board will have 22 weeks to hear from Canadians.

Sohi announced the details of the government’s next steps during a news conference, calling it a “very important step forward.”

Sohi also emphasized that the project is an investment in Canada’s future, but clarified that “it must move forward in the right way.”

Last month, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval of the pipeline project that would nearly triple the flow of oil from Alberta’s oilsands to the West Coast.

The court said that Canada’s efforts fell short in both consulting with indigenous people, as well as giving the environmental impact of increased tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia more attention.

Sohi said the review will consider the impact of increased tanker traffic on the resident killer whale population.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government is committed to building the pipeline the "right way" to satisfy the court's demands.


Trans Mountain to Begin Construction on Four Segments After NEB Approval

The National Energy Board says Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC can start construction on sections of its pipeline expansion in Alberta and British Columbia.

An NEB statement says that Trans Mountain met all applicable pre-construction condition requirements for segments one to four from Edmonton Terminal to its Darfield pump station near Kamloops, B.C.

96 percent of the detailed route for these particular segments have been approved by the board.

Subject to other government permits and regulations, the NEB has given Trans Mountain permission to begin construction and clear right of way.

While other active hearings are pending, work related to them will not be permitted until they are resolved.

The NEB added that 72 percent of the entire detailed route has been approved and hearings for the final segment are scheduled to begin in October.


Enbridge to Sell Midcoast Operation Business for $1.1 Billion

A Houston-based Midcoast Operating business owned by Enbridge is being sold to Boston-based ArcLight Capital Partners for about $1.1 billion.

Included in the sale are 11,900 miles of gas and NGL pipelines, 25 processing plants, 12 treatment plants and more.
ArcLight said that the business will still be ran from Houston.

Enbridge is also selling multiple renewable energy assets to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for close to $1.5 billion.

The sales of its ancillary units and assets are to make sure Enbridge focuses on its pipeline and utility businesses.

"Together, these transactions support our strategy to move towards a pure pipeline and utility business model and provide the company with significant additional financing flexibility as we fund our industry leading secured growth program," said Enbridge CEO.

Rob Bond has been hired to lead ArcLight’s new Midcoast business and has brought with him other executives who worked with his senior leadership at PennTex Midstream Partners.

Houston Chronicle


Cenovus to Hold Back on Heavy Crude Output Increase

Canada’s Cenovus Energy said on Thursday that it would hold back on output increases until pipeline bottlenecks have been alleviated. Other top oil and gas producers increased output to respond to higher market demand.

Heavy Canadian crude demand has risen from U.S. Gulf of Mexico refiners with Venezuelan production dropping. Despite the increase in demand, the country has not kept up the pace.

With the increase in production, pipeline constraints have occurred, resulting in Canadian heavy crude  to be traded at steep discounts to U.S. light crude as well as producers being forced to turn to a less favorable crude-by-rail option.

“Transportation bottlenecks are by far the biggest challenge for Canadian producers, mainly because the pipeline constraints won’t be alleviated until the end of 2019, at the earliest,” said Edward Jones analyst Jennifer Rowland.

She added that bottlenecks impact decisions for future production projects as well as investor sentiments towards the companies.

Despite these impacts, Cenovus said it will not want to expand production until transportation capacity catches up to production capabilities.


Marathon Petroleum to Maximize U.S. Crude in Third Quarter

Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC.N) said that it plans to “maximize” input of U.S. crude in the third quarter, as bottlenecks have weakened domestic prices.

The company said on a Thursday earnings call that about 32 percent of its total throughput will be crude linked to the U.S. benchmark price.

It is expected that input at the company’s Midwest refineries will jump to 53 percent of total throughput in the third quarter.

U.S. and Canadian producers have been selling crude at a discount compared to global prices because of production outpacing pipeline capacity, helping Marathon report its highest quarterly earnings since 2011.

The U.S. refining outlook continues to remain strong as crude remain discounted.

“I think inventories are going to remain for both gasoline and distillate, inventories are going to remain in check through the year, which bodes very well for the business. But as we look into 2019 and where we believe inventories will end up at the balance of this year, it should put us in a really good position moving into ‘19 as well,” said Chief Executive Gary Heminger.


ETP's Rover NatGas Pipeline Construction Delayed by Ohio's EPA

Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Monday that the completion of their Rover natural gas pipeline was being delayed due to state environmental regulators in Ohio using a notice of violation related to the unapproved disposal of industrial waste.

According to the EPA’s July 11 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued the violation after the ETP deposited “spent drilling mud” containing low levels of a chemical solvent called tetrachlorethene, or PCE, without approval.

PCE is used in dry cleaning of fabrics and is used in the manufacture of other chemicals.

“Ohio EPA’s filing of the (notice of violations) with FERC was not for any legitimate purpose, but rather was an attempt to cynically use the commission to once again delay the completion of this necessary project,” ETP said in its filing with the federal regulator on Monday.

The $4.2 billion Rover project was planned to be completed in November 2017, but numerous notices of violations led to delays and temporary stop-work orders. The project would carry up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale region fields in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast as well as Ontario, Canada.


Enbridge Announces $3.3 Billion Sale of NatGas Gathering Pipelines, Facilities

Enbridge announced Wednesday that it would sell its Canadian natural gas gathering pipelines and processing facilities to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners, a Toronto-based company, for US$3.3 billion.

The deal will help Enbridge focus on long-haul pipelines while deleveraging other projects. Enbridge plans to ultimately reduce the company’s $46 billion debt in the process.

Included in the sale are 2,205 miles of gathering pipelines and 19 natural gas processing plants.

Enbridge CEO and President Al Monaco said that the deal “demonstrates our focus on prudent capital allocation and ensuring the continued strength of our balance sheet and funding flexibility.”

Enbridge’s balance sheet became a key focus after its mega $28 billion merger with Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp in 2016 and has been selling off assets and dividing proceeds to both pay down debt as well as funding its growth portfolio.

The company plans on spending another roughly $17 billion on other projects, including the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement.

Financial Post

Train Accident Spills 230,000 Gallons of Oil, Service Resumed

BNSF Railway Co stated on Monday that service will be resumed Tuesday on tracks in northwestern Iowa where a train left the track and spilled crude oil from derailed cars.

The derailing occurred near Doon, Iowa on Friday, sending 32 rail cars off the track with an estimated 230,000 gallons of spilled oil into flood waters including a nearby river.

The train included close to 58,000 barrels of crude oil traveling from Western Canada to Stroud, Oklahoma for oil producer ConocoPhillips, a Conoco spokesman said. The oil company said it doesn’t expect any serious disruption to its shipments due to the accident.

BNSF said in a statement that the crew is nearly finished removing the oil damage from the incident as well as repairing the tracks.

Booms have been placed “approximately five miles downstream to capture any oil that may have traveled with floodwaters through nearby fields.” said the railroad company.

BNSF has not said what caused the train accident. No injuries or fire resulted from the incident.



Regulators Near Decision on Line 3 Proposal, Protestors to Canoe to Hearing

Minnesota regulators have decided that there will be two days of final arguments regarding Enbridge Energy’s proposal for replacing outdated oil pipelines from Canada across Minnesota.

As the regulators near a decision on Enbridge’s proposal, environmental groups are urging the Public Utility Commission to reject the proposal because of the risks to the environment and the rights of indigenous people.

Both parties are urging supporters to show up at the hearing. One opponent of the Line 3 proposal is reportedly willing to canoe to the St.Paul hearing, bringing the canoe into the proceedings.

Enbridge will have the updated pipeline on a different route from the previous deteriorating Line 3 crude oil pipeline, which crosses through an environmentally sensitive area where lakes and wetlands are present. Native Americans use the land to harvest wild rice, fish and claim treaty rights.

Whatever the commission decides, it is likely that the case will end up in court, says PUC Chair Nancy Lange. There is also worry of a large-scale protest in the case Enbridge gets the green light.


Seven Companies Apply For Piper, A New Pipeline Sensor Technology

Developer Ingu, along with six other companies, have applied to use a golf ball-sized mobile sensor that will be used to detect leaks, geometric defects, and deposits in crude oil or brine pipelines.

The technology works by being placed in one end of an underground pipeline with liquid such as crude oil, brine, or others, being carried through.

The technology will be deployed next month to a unique target market that focuses on small gathering pipelines in North Dakota; however, it will be tested over three years.

Initial plans are to extend the program beyond three years based on more oil and gas companies joining the current seven companies.

The three-year program’s funding is a combined $1.6 million from NDIC’s Oil and Gas Research Program. There is also an additional $225,000 in membership fees that are paid by the oil and gas companies.

Developers want to minimize the speed of data analysis which is currently done by sending the Pipers back to Ingu to retrieve data. The startup is also working on building AI capacity to bring the data analysis speed to 72 hours.

Pricing will be based on the level of data analysis needed and not on the actual product. 

Bismarck Tribune

Canada Conditionally Approves US$27 Billion Liquid Natural Gas Project

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday approved a US$27 billion (C$36 billion) LNG project that would ship 19 million tons a year of frozen LNG from western Canada to Asian markets.

This project approval serves as a test for the Canadian government which is battling between meeting the rigorous environmental standards of Canadian communities and helping to boost the country’s struggling energy economy.

The approval comes with conditions, however, as Trudeau’s government set 190 provisions to the major project that include protecting the environment and wildlife.

The project was first proposed by oil and gas company Petronas and other partners back in 2013 and has been criticized for the carbon emissions it would cause as well as the impact the export terminal would have on a wild salmon habitat.

Decisions on the project still have to go through Pacific NorthWest LNG’s shareholders who will consider the economics of the project as international prices for LNG have decreased since the project’s first proposal in 2013.

Houston Chronicle

City in Canada Activates Emergency Operations After Oil Spill

Prince Albert Saskatchewan, By Carolyn Carleton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Albert Saskatchewan, By Carolyn Carleton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The City of Prince Albert activated its emergency operations center on Saturday afternoon in order to put together a contingency plan after a boom set up to contain an oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River breached, sending oil toward the city and its drinking water supply.

A spokesman for Saskatchewan’s water security agency said Prince Albert gets most of its water supply from the North Saskatchewan River. Staff members are getting ready to shut down the intakes as oil from the leak flows past the city.

The city is working on ways to treat water for hydrocarbons if backup water supplies run out before the oil passes. Backup water supply options for the city include water from storm water retention ponds and other reservoirs, which the city will treat.

The 65,000-gallon spill leaked into the river last Thursday after a break in a pipeline owned by Husky Energy. The company stated its containment and cleanup efforts in the wake of the spill are ongoing.

CBC News
Houston Chronicle

Canadian Court Overturns Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Approval

The Supreme Court of Canada building. By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [Resolution restricted-by-sa (undefined)], via Wikimedia Commons

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is delayed once again as Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal overturned the approval of the project that is facing much opposition from environmentalists and aboriginal groups.

The Canadian court released its decision on Thursday, saying that the government did not properly consult with aboriginal groups about the pipeline project. The proposal has now been sent back to Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet for “prompt redetermination.”

The government said in a statement Thursday that it will review the ruling of the project before taking next steps and reaffirmed its promise to build a “nation-to-nation” relationship with the aboriginal groups.

Enbridge is still committed to the $6.1 billion (C$7.9 billion) Northern Gateway pipeline that would run 730 miles (1,177 km) and transport Alberta oil to the Pacific coast for shipment to Asia. The project was first proposed a decade ago and was endorsed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper back in 2014. It is the only major proposed domestic pipeline to have won federal government approval.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet must tackle the decision on whether or not to renew the pipeline project--a decision that has the potential to either anger the pipeline’s opponents or upset the oil industry in Alberta.


Vancouver Files for Judicial Review to Stop Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion

Waters and Skyline of North Vancouver, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The city of Vancouver has filed an application for judicial review of the National Energy Board’s recommended approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

The city posted a statement on its website saying that the review process for the project is “both invalid and unlawful,” claiming that the NEB failed to properly consult local communities along the pipeline and tanker route, disregarded key pieces of evidence that show potential for damage to local waters, and ignored the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

The city filed the suit at the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Friday with the intention to have the NEB’s recommended approval rescinded. The city has provided a link on its website for the public to share their opinion on the project to the Federal Government.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion is an approximately $5.4 billion project that would carry nearly triple the current daily barrel count of crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to ports in the Vancouver area.