Enbridge announces Bakken crude system expansion

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Aug. 25 -- Enbridge Inc. affiliates Enbridge Energy Partners LP (EEP) and Enbridge Income Fund (EIF) announced Aug. 24 a joint project to further expand crude oil pipeline capacity for growing production in the Bakken and Three Forks formations in Montana, North Dakota, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The Bakken Expansion Program will increase takeaway capacity from the Bakken play by 145,000-325,000 b/d.

The expansion program will originate at Beaver Lodge station near Tioga, ND, and follow existing EEP and EIF rights-of-way to terminate at and deliver to Enbridge’s 2-million b/d mainline at Cromer, Man. EEP also has proposed a separate project to expand its pipeline system south of the Missouri River, connecting it to Beaver Lodge station and increasing access to its expanded North Dakota System. Initial additional capacity of 145,000 b/d from North Dakota to Cromer will be available by first-quarter 2013, with further expansion to as much as 325,000 b/d possible.

EEP and EIF report sufficient long-term shipping commitments from anchor shippers for the Bakken Expansion Program to proceed. A pending binding open season will provide other shippers the opportunity to make shipping commitments on the same terms provided to anchor shippers, as well as an opportunity to commit to capacity on the proposed expansion of EEP's pipeline system in northwestern North Dakota.

EEP's North Dakota System completed a 51,000 b/d expansion to 161,500 b/d on Jan. 1. Enbridge reports that capacity was immediately fully utilized, with operational fine-tuning since intended to further enhance the system’s capacity between North Dakota and the Enbridge mainline system at Clearbrook, Minn. EIF's Saskatchewan System is undertaking three separate expansions, expected to be in service in late-2010, that will collectively increase upstream capacity of the gathering systems by 125,000 b/d. Total capacity into Cromer following the current (Phase II) and the previously completed Phase I expansion will be 230,000 b/d.

Enbridge said the expanded systems will optimize its segregated light, sweet pipeline capacity serving the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwest and the Midcontinent refinery markets connected to Cushing, Okla.

Limited crude pipeline capacity out of the Bakken shale prompted EOG Resources Inc. to begin rail shipments Dec. 31, 2009. As of April EOG was moving 60,000 bbl twice weekly by rail to Stroud, Okla., for pipeline transit to Cushing (OGJ Online, Apr. 26, 2010).

EEP will conduct Enbridge's Bakken Expansion Program at a cost of roughly $370 million, with EIF taking the Canadian projects at a cost of about $190 million (Can.).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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