TransCanada gets Alberta go-ahead to build Northern Courier bitumen, diluent line

TransCanada Corp. has received the Alberta Energy Regulator’s approval to build and operate the Northern Courier Pipeline Project. The company plans to begin building the pipeline later this quarter to meet a 2017 in-service date.

Fort Hills Energy LP selected TransCanada to design, build, own, and operate the 90-km (56-mile) bitumen and diluent pipeline (OGJ Online, Aug. 1, 2012), which is fully contracted under a long-term agreement. Northern Courier will extend between the Fort Hills mine and bitumen extraction facility and Suncor’s East Tank Farm, north of Fort McMurray, Alta., using 24-in. OD insulated steel pipe to transport the bitumen and 12-in. OD steel pipe for the diluent.

TransCanada estimates the pipeline will cost $800 million.

Northern Courier is a component of TransCanada’s $3.5-billion plan to expand its Alberta liquids pipeline network, which includes the proposed Grand Rapids (OGJ Online, Oct. 29, 2012) and Heartland (OGJ Online, May 3, 2013) pipeline projects, and new storage terminals at Hardisty and in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region northeast of Edmonton.

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