ERCB approves Enbridge Alberta diluted bitumen pipeline

Canada’s Energy Resources Conservation Board approved Enbridge Inc.’s applications to build and operate two pump stations and a pipeline transporting diluted bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands to Sherwood Park, Alta.

The pipeline’s proposed 385-km route generally parallels several existing pipelines. It will have an initial capacity of 400,000 b/d diluted bitumen containing no hydrogen sulfide.

A number of parties objected to the applications, but after Enbridge altered the pipeline’s proposed route, several landowners withdrew their objections.

Only one objection remained at the beginning of the hearing, from a party whose land had been included on the originally proposed route.

Especially favorable conditions could see production of bitumen from the Canadian oil sands peak at 6.8 million b/d in 2038, according to a study earlier this year by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.

The reference-case scenario of the same study had regional pipeline capacity able to handle all major oil sands regions except Athabasca beyond 2030, with Athabasca output exceeding pipeline capacity by 2015.

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

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