Construction of Marten Hills Pipeline System Commenced

Rangeland Midstream Canada has announced that it has started the construction of its Marten Hills Pipeline System. The Pipeline System will extend approximately 52.8 miles and consists of new crude oil and condensate pipelines.

The system starts from the Marten Hills region of north central Alberta and ends at the interconnection with Plains Midstream Canada’s Rainbow Pipeline System in Edmonton, Alberta.

“Rangeland Canada is excited to announce that we have received all of the required permits and regulatory approvals that allow us to begin clearing rights of way in advance of pipeline construction, which is expected to begin later this month,” said Rangeland Canada Vice President of Business Development Briton Speer. “The Marten Hills system will alleviate infrastructure bottlenecks and allow us to provide our customers with flow assurance and the safe, high-quality transportation services they need to access the best markets.”

The Marten Hills system is expected to come into service in the second quarter of 2020. The system is anchored by long-term transportation agreements with three of the region’s largest crude oil producers, who have made a combined minimum volume commitment representing 40% of the system’s capacity.


TC Energy Received Probable Violation Notice from PHMSA

TC Oil Operations, the company that owns Keystone pipeline failed to provide suitable coating material at numerous locations along the pipeline, according to The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. A notice of probable violation was issued by PHMSA as a result of an inspection of the Keystone Pipeline’s facilities and records.

PHMSA didn’t proposed any fines as a result of the probable violation, rather proposed a compliance order that requires TC Oil to “correct deficiencies in coating material so that they are suitable for prevention of atmospheric corrosion.”

According to the notice, the company also needs to provide a “record of the location of piping with insufficient coating and the date in which the appropriate coating was applied.”

“The operator used fusion bonded epoxy as a coating on numerous locations on the pipeline at and above the air soil interface,” the notice reads. TC Energy has six months from the date of the final order to comply.

The 2,600 miles pipeline runs from eastern Alberta, Canada, to Oklahoma and Illinois, and carries crude oil.


Enbridge Announced Open Seasons on Express Pipeline

Open seasons for existing and expanded capacities on the Express Pipeline Limited Partnership pipeline in Canada has been announced by Enbridge Inc. The service originates at Hardisty, Alberta and has delivery points on the Express Pipeline LLC pipeline in the US.

"Given the shortage of pipeline capacity out of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, Enbridge has been exploring options to provide industry with incremental near-term capacity," said Guy Jarvis, Executive Vice President Liquids Pipelines. "The efficient expansion capacity on the Express Pipeline being offered in this open season will provide additional takeaway capacity, which we believe will be well received by the shipping community."

The open season for existing capacity will begin at 8 am MDT on 3 July 2019 and end at 12 pm MDT on 7 August 2019 and the open season for expanded capacity will begin at 8 am MDT on 3 July 2019 and end at 12 pm MDT on 23 August 2019.


Binding Open Season Announced for the Keystone Pipeline

TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada has announced an open season to solicit binding commitments for crude oil transportation services on the Keystone Pipeline System.

The pipeline runs from Hardisty, Alberta to markets on the US Gulf Coast.

Interested parties may submit binding bids for transportation capacity during the open season that will close at 12 pm MT on 19 July 2019.


$145 Million Deal to Buy Shell Canada Gas Assets by Pieridae Energy

Pieridae Energy, based in Canada will buy gas assets from Royal Dutch Shell for 145 million, Pieridae said on Wednesday. This will secure supply for Pieridae’s proposed Goldboro LNG plant in Nova Scotia, which will be Canada’s first east coast LNG project, producing 10 million tons per year.

“Not only does this deal help us secure the remaining conventional natural gas supply needed for the first train of the Goldboro LNG project, it makes Pieridae a major player in the Alberta midstream and upstream industry,” said Pieridae Chief Executive Alfred Sorensen.

All of Shell’s midstream and upstream assets in the southern Alberta Foothills area is included in the deal and these assets will produce 29,000 barrels of natural gas, natural gas liquids and condensate. Also Shell said in a statement that Pieridae will retain all site-based Shell employees and some Calgary-based employees who support the Foothills assets.

“We are pleased they (the assets) are going to a buyer with a strong focus on safety, community and environmental stewardship, and one that is well placed to take these assets to the next stage of their development,” Shell Canada President Michael Crothers said.


Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project Receives Approval from Canadian Government

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the C$9.3 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that will link Alberta’s oil sands to a port near Vancouver, British Columbia.  

The pipeline was purchased by the government from Kinder Morgan a year ago to ensure its expansion. The pipeline project has set Canadian provinces against each other, opened rifts among its Indigenous communities and prompted major protests.

The project is a critical component of Mr. Trudeau’s longstanding position that Canada needs to maintain a strong energy industry to support its efforts to mitigate climate change.

The oil industry in Canada has increasingly turned to trains to ship its products from the oil sands, due to the pipeline bottlenecks. This method of shipment is both costly and potentially dangerous because of the risk of derailments. Due to the transportation issues, the oil industry in Alberta was forced to sell its product at a discount.


Alberta Wildfires Prompts Temporary Shutdown of Crude Oil Production

An approximately 65,000 barrels per day of crude oil production was temporarily shut down due to wildfires in northwest Alberta, Canadian Natural Resources said.

“Canadian Natural personnel are working together with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as well as local officials during their response to the wildfire,” the company said in a statement.

“Canadian Natural is continuously monitoring the situation with officials, and we will provide a public update when operations can be re-started, once safe and permitted to do so.” 

Canadian Natural had to evacuate all 240 of its personnel in its Pelican Lake and Woodenhouse operations on Thursday. They are concerned about the wildfires, particularly in the Wabasca and Slave Lake areas.


Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline Expansion Likely to Proceed

The controversial expansion of Trans Mountain oil pipeline will be proceeded by the Canadian government. Justin Trudeau’s federal cabinet will meet to discuss the expansion on June 18 and the plan is to double the pipeline flow out of Alberta to the west coast in British Columbia, Bloomberg reported.

The expansion would add 590,000 barrels of daily shipping capacity and will be a boon for Canadian oil drillers struggling from a lack of pipelines. British Columbia has been strongly opposing the project, which forced Kinder Morgan to reconsider its commitment to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, and to sell the project to the Canadian government in August 2018.

The leaders advocating for the pipeline expansion is conducting consultations with First Nations regarding the project, in an attempt to address all possible concerns that opponents may have. Work on the project could start fairly quickly if the outcome of the consultations are positive.


New Pipeline Project Announced by Rangeland Midstream Canada

Rangeland Midstream Canada, Ltd, has announced its plans to design, construct and operate new crude oil and condensate pipelines of approximately 52.8 miles located in the Marten Hills region of north central Alberta.

With low extraction costs using modern multilateral horizontal drilling, the system will gather crude oil production from the Clearwater formation in the Marten Hills region and will deliver blended crude oil to an existing third-party takeaway pipeline which serves the Edmonton, Alberta, hub and refining market.

The company will receive the condensate from a third-party pipeline and will be delivered to production batteries for diluent blending. The system is expected to come into service in the second quarter of 2020.


Minnesota PUC Confirms Enbridge Energy's Line 3 Pipeline Approval

Enbridge Energy's proposed $7 billion Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement gets final approval from Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, the company said on Wednesday. The PUC unanimously rejected the last pending petitions for reconsideration, including one from the state Commerce Department.

“The PUC confirmed its decision to approve the conditions placed on L3R’s (Line 3 Replacement) Certificate of Need – conditions meant to protect Minnesotans – allowing this critical energy infrastructure modernization project to move forward,” Enbridge said in a statement.

Since 1960s, Line 3 has carried Canadian crude from Alberta to Wisconsin and is currently operating at half its capacity. The Line 3 replacement would allow it to return to approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day.

The PUC initially approved Enbridge’s plan to rebuild the aging 1,031-mile pipeline in June, but that decision was challenged by Minnesota’s governor in February.

The new line would cross Alberta, a corner of North Dakota and northern Minnesota to an Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. Besides clearing the legal challenges, Calgary-based Enbridge also needs state and federal permits, which the company hopes to secure around end of the year.


Keystone XL Has Construction Preparation Related Work Blocked by Judge. Faces Additional Setbacks

Transcanda’s latest effort to begin construction on the Keystone XL pipeline project was set back by U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris on Friday and may need to push its earliest start date into next year.

The judge said TransCanada can move pipe to storage yards along the pipeline route but ruled that the company cannot do work related to preparation of construction, including setting up camps for workers who would build the pipeline if it is allowed to move forward.

The $8 billion pipeline project would transport heavy crude from Alberta, Canada to Steel City, Nebraska, where it would link up with existing lines to transport oil supplies to Gulf Coast refineries and is now in the growing war between environmentalists and the oil industry over expanding pipeline infrastructure.

The cross-border line would carry oil sands, which the Obama administration blocked in 2015, largely over environmental and climate concerns. The Trump administration tried to revive this pipeline by signing an executive order to advance Keystone XL in 2017.

Morris ruled in November that the Trump administration failed to conduct the necessary environmental review when it approved Keystone XL and blocked the construction of the line. Also a month later TransCanada was prohibited from any activity that advances the project until new environmental reviews have been completed.

While the firm appealed the decision, TransCanada asked Morris to allow the company to prepare for construction, like hauling pipes to the site and setting up worker camps, but that work was also blocked by Morris on Friday.


TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL Receives Positive Environmental Reviews

TransCanada Corp. has received a positive review from the U.S. State Department for its proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline for having an approved route that would have no significant environmental impacts.

Nebraska regulators offered an alternate route that was approved for the line, but it would have minor to moderate effects on three of the eight environmental categories the department assessed, according to the review.

The 1,200-mile pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refiners. Although the pipeline has won the U.S. and state approvals required, TransCanada has yet to officially declare that it is building the project.

TransCanada is currently facing a case before the Nebraska Supreme Court as well as legal cases challenging the project’s U.S. presidential permit. Although the Nebraska Supreme Court case is expected to be resolved by late this year or early next, TransCanada is still planning on doing some preparatory work this fall.

Houston Chronicle

100,000 Liters of Spillage in Alberta Marsh After Pipeline Leak

A Calgary-based oil company reports that more than 100,000 liters of oil and water leaked down a hill into a Southern Alberta Marsh. Oil mixed with produced water and resulted in activation of the company’s response plan.

The company said on Monday that the spill was detected on Saturday afternoon.

The report also said that "impact on wildlife is currently being assessed by specialists on site but appears to have been minimal. Crews have physically contained the spilled fluids from causing further contamination and have already recovered a significant volume of the released fluid from the surface."

Farmland affected is currently not being used for pasture and landowners have visited the location.

The leak was detected within a few hours of when it began by staff monitoring pipeline pressure and appears to have come from where a feeder pipeline leaves oil-testing facilities, said CEO Colin Davies.

Initial estimates put the spill at 250,000 liters but was later decreased to between 100,000 and 200,000 liters.

CBC Canada


Enbridge Gets Approval for Line 3 Despite Activist Concerns

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Enbridge's proposed rebuild of their outdated Alberta-to-Wisconsin oil pipeline.

The route approved closely matches Enbridge’s preference and will take Line 3 over a new corridor along its route for a only a part of the construction. It will follow existing pipeline paths before steering south of a lake in order to ensure construction isn't delayed for up to a year.

The approval has conditions, including that Enbridge make a financial guarantee to cover any cleanup caused by environmental damage and remove any pipelines that are no longer in use if landowners request it.

Environmental activists were upset and spoke up during the commission's meeting.

The original Line 3, which has been operating at half capacity, will return to an approved capacity of 760,000 barrels per day after being replaced.

Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton said that that an additional 29 permits from local, state, and federal levels will still be required.

“Approvals are by no means assured,”


Environmental Groups Target Big Insurers of Tar Sands Pipeline Projects

In a new public relations campaign, environmentalists are calling on big insurance companies to stop providing coverage for projects connected to Western Canada's tar sands fields where oil deposits are some of the most carbon intensive in the world.

In the paper released Thursday headed by environmental activist group Unfriend Coal, the group specifically targets Canada's tar sands, saying that more than 70 percent of global tar sands reserves are located in Canada.

Earlier this month, several supporters of the Unfriend Coal campaign wrote to the CEOs of 25 leading energy insurers asking them to stay away from pipeline projects related to coal or tar sands like the Trans Mountain Expansion, Keystone XL, and Line 3.

Without insurance, pipeline projects that move tar sands from Canada to other markets would not get funded and could not be operated, the group writes in the paper.

Leaders and supporters of the campaign are starting to see signs of success as both European insurance giants AXA and Allianz have announced they will begin divesting from the coal industry.

Unfriend Coal
Fuel Fix

Canada Most Likely to Buy Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline and Expansion Project

Canada's federal government is likely to buy Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain oil pipeline and expansion that is currently under fierce opposition in order to ensure that the project gets built, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Many options have been discussed about how to move the project forward amid legal uncertainty and rising protests, but the most probable option for Canada is to buy the entire project. Canada is likely to purchase both the existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline and the proposed US$5.7 billion expansion and then sell it once the project is guaranteed to be built.

The deal, which has not yet been publicly reported, could be announced as soon as Tuesday in Ottawa.

Canada has been working with Kinder Morgan since the pipeline operator set a May 31 deadline for Ottawa to give certainty on the project's completion amid opposition from aboriginal groups and the provincial government in British Columbia who is worried about the increased tanker traffic and possible oil spills in the Pacific Coast.

The 600-mile Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would nearly triple capacity of the current line to 890,000 barrels per day of oil running from Alberta to the coast in British Columbia.


British Columbia Says it is Not Delaying Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction

British Columbia's attorney general said Tuesday that the province is not purposely delaying Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but simply looking out for the province's own interests.

Attorney General David Eby's statement comes after Kinder Morgan has said British Columbia's opposition to the project has made construction insupportable due to permit delays and political opposition.

Eby said the province is approving permits for the project on the same timeline as other major projects and that its new environmental rules and jurisdictional challenge are to ensure that British Columbia has the right protections in place for when the pipeline gets built and goes into operation.

Kinder Morgan set a May 31 deadline to decide if the controversial pipeline project should get built or not. Canada's federal government had said it would cover Kinder Morgan's financial losses on the project if the pipeline company decides to go through with the build.

Canada wants to see the pipeline built to help move Alberta oil to overseas markets and help even the playing field between U.S. and Canadian oil trades.

The Trans Mountain expansion would nearly triple capacity on an existing line from Alberta to Vancouver.


Canada's Federal Government to Help Fund Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week said he has told his finance minister to talk with Kinder Morgan and remove the uncertainty over the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project that has been facing ongoing legal challenges. 

The pipeline project has been suspended until Kinder Morgan receives reassurance from Ottawa that the project will be able to go forward.

Canada's federal government approved the project in 2016, but the project has since been strongly opposed by British Columbia's New Democrat government.

Trudeau wants to see the major pipeline expansion completed as the country needs more infrastructure to move its growing oil sands production. The project would nearly triple the flow of oil from Canada's oil sands to the Pacific Coast.

However, the British Columbia government has been fighting the project in courts in efforts to stop the inevitable increase of the number of oil tankers traveling the waters between Canada and Washington state.

Amid the legal challenges against the pipeline expansion, Trudeau also announced last week that legislation is coming that will "reassert and reinforce" the federal government's power to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and ensure it moves forward.


Alberta, Canada Willing to Buy Trans Mountain Pipeline if Kinder Morgan Scraps Project

Alberta, Canada is considering purchasing Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline if the pipeline company decides to scrap the project amid legal challenges and expensive construction delays.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday in a statement that the province is considering options to ensure that the pipeline gets built, including purchasing the project outright.

Kinder Morgan said Sunday it would scrap the US$5.9 billion project to triple the capacity of its existing Trans Mountain pipeline that extends from Alberta to the British Columbia coast unless current legal challenges against the project could be resolved by the end of May.

Alberta's crude is significantly discounted compared to the United States due to bottlenecks on existing pipelines and by rail, so the province is heavily relying on the Trans Mountain expansion project to help move its crude and boost prices.

The project is strongly opposed by British Columbia and some aboriginal groups who have taken Kinder Morgan to court more than once and have caused construction delays.


Canadian Prime Minister: TransCanada Scrapped Energy East to Move Forward with Keystone XL

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Thursday that lack of shipper commitment for the Keystone XL contributed to TransCanada's decision to scrap its proposed Energy East oil pipeline back in October.

TransCanada no longer had a business case for Energy East, a pipeline project that had been approved back when oil prices were twice as high as they are now, Trudeau told reporters in New Brunswick. The company was already having trouble filling the Keystone XL that was given life again after U.S. President Trump approved the project when he took office.

TransCanada in October 2017 scrapped the proposed US$12.2 billion Energy East pipeline that was designed to move 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to the Atlantic Coast. When he announced the decision to shelf the project, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling did not specify reasons why.

Although the Energy East project is no longer being pursued, TransCanada announced in January that it had reached enough shipping commitments for its Keystone XL projects with about 500,000 barrels per day of commitments, allowing the project to continue.