Fort Hills selects Northern Courier pipeline builder, operator

Fort Hills Energy LP has selected TransCanada Corp. to design, build, own, and operate the proposed Northern Courier Pipeline project. Northern Courier is a 90-km pipeline system to transport bitumen and diluent between the Fort Hills mine site and the Voyageur upgrader north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

Northern Courier is fully subscribed under long-term contract to service the Fort Hills Mine, which is jointly owned by Suncor Energy Inc., Total E&P Canada Ltd., and Teck Resources Ltd. and operated by Suncor Energy Operating Inc.

TransCanada expects to file its initial regulatory application later this year at which time it will provide a more-detailed project schedule. Pipeline routing is still being determined.

The $660 million Northern Courier project is conditional on the Fort Hills project receiving sanction by its co-owners and obtaining regulatory approval. The project will be operated by Northern Courier Pipeline GP Ltd., a wholly owned TransCanada subsidiary.

Total and Suncor formed a strategic oil sands alliance in late 2010 encompassing Fort Hills, the Total-operated Joslyn mining project, and the Suncor-operated Voyageur upgrader. Suncor and Total agreed to develop Fort Hills and Voyageur in parallel so that both come on stream in early 2016 (OGJ Online, Dec. 20, 2010).

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

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