Tag Archives: TransCanada

TransCanada ‘West-East’ Oil Pipeline Moves Forward

TransCanada Corp. has moved a major step forward on its plan to ship Western Canadian crude to the country’s eastern refineries and export facilities, so far facing few of the political hurdles that have dogged other pipeline projects aimed at moving crude out of Alberta.

The Calgary-based pipeline giant said Tuesday that it has launched a formal process to acquire shipping commitments from energy companies for the Energy East Pipeline, which could reach New Brunswick’s Irving Oil Ltd. refinery and port of Saint John.

TransCanada said it is confident in gaining such support, and will then file for regulatory review with the goal to begin shipments by late 2017.

“We’re committed,” said Jeff Matthews, Irving Oil’s director of business development. The proposed pipeline “increases our ability to compete in a tough industry by allowing our refinery access to a crude supply region in Western Canada that has not been accessible in the past,” he said.

The west-to-east project – unveiled just a year ago – is gaining considerable momentum at a time when other pipeline projects such as TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway face uncertainty amid political friction and environmental concerns.

Energy East is expected to largely handle light oil, along with some heavy crude from the oil sands. As a result, projects such as the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines will still be needed to bring Alberta’s vast oil sands reserves to market.

The proposed Energy East Pipeline would carry as much as 850,000 barrels a day of western crude to eastern markets, with an option of either stopping in Quebec or extending it to Saint John. At its maximum, it would be 4,400 kilometres long, including the conversion of TransCanada’s underutilized natural gas line to a point near the Ontario-Quebec border, and new construction from there to Saint John.

The Saint John facility is Canada’s largest and most complex refinery. Mr. Matthews said oil producers are also interested in accessing Irving’s Canaport marine terminal for export.

With support from a wide range of politicians, Energy East now faces the acid test of commercial viability as producers weigh competing projects and the appeal of various markets.

While Alberta producers have been keen to reach the huge refining hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast, or access fast-growing markets through Asia, the Eastern Canadian market appears to be their most problem-free alternative, at least in the short term. But there is limited capacity to process oil sands bitumen at refineries in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Keystone XL, which would carry bitumen to the Texas Gulf Coast, has encountered lengthy delays from the Obama administration in the face of fierce criticism from environmentalists. The company says it remains confident of eventual approval, but the political risk remains high.

At the same time, Northern Gateway – which aims to transport oil sands crude to Kitimat, B.C., for export to Asia – has run into a wall of opposition from First Nations, the environmental community and the B.C. New Democrats, who may well win government in the upcoming provincial election.

The eastern pipeline proposal has won broad endorsement from the federal government, the New Democratic Party opposition, and New Brunswick Premier David Alward. Quebec Premier Pauline Marois has been consulted on the project and has given support in principle.

IHS Inc. analyst Jackie Forrest said the industry would face 1-million barrels per day of pipeline over-capacity if all the proposed projects were completed on schedule in the 2015 to 2018 time period.

“However, producers are looking for market options – so it is possible we would see a future scenario with excess pipeline capacity,” Ms. Forrest said. “And since we expect oil sands to grow beyond 2020, this extra capacity would be needed in the early part of the next decade.”

SOURCE: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/transcanada-moves-ahead-on-ambitious-plan-to-pipe-oil-to-quebec-nb/article10663042/

Shippers keen on TransCanada’s natural gas line conversion to carry crude eastward

EDMONTON – TransCanada Corp.’s plans to convert one of its main natural gas lines to carry crude oil from Alberta to Quebec and likely on to the Maritimes is set to move into high gear.

The firm said Tuesday it is considering an open season for shippers within a few months, and will schedule consultations with communities along the 4,800-kilometre route as soon as it is appropriate to do so.

And if all goes well, TransCanada will file for regulatory approval by the end of 2013, with construction to begin in 2015 and the line in operation by 2017. It could have a capacity of about one million barrels per day, sending light oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as synthetic crude from oilsands upgraders to Eastern refineries that currently import expensive oil from Africa and the Middle East.

“There is a great deal of interest, we are advancing discussions with shippers and are pleased the way they are going,” said Alex Pourbaix, the firm’s president for energy and oil pipelines, during a conference call Tuesday to discuss fourth-quarter earnings.

Based on expressions of interest, TransCanada expects to have an open season for shippers within a few months, allowing firms to make formal commitments. He said when intentions are clear and a route proposed, TransCanada will immediately begin consultations with communities along the route.

The existing pipe that ends in Montreal has the necessary size for the conversion process, but east of that TransCanada expects it will install new pipe along its existing rights-of-way.

“We know there is 400,000 barrels per day of demand in the domestic market of Quebec (from refineries in Montreal and Quebec City) and a further 400,000 barrels per day in the Maritimes, largely at Irving’s refinery in Saint John,” said Pourbaix.

But while domestic demand is the initial target, there are also export possibilities to the U.S. eastern seaboard.

“(The U.S.) is importing 1.5 million barrels a day and that suggests a market for domestic production to attach to that market,” said chief executive Russ Girling.

The idea of cutting through Maine to shorten the route to the Maritimes is a non-starter for TransCanada, with Pourbaix stressing that the new streamlined National Energy Board approval process offers certainty to project builders.

For TransCanada, the stalled Keystone XL line from Hardisty south to Oklahoma is perhaps a good example of the kind of costly delays they hope to avoid.

But Pourbaix said Tuesday final approval seems to be only a few months away. He said the firm has been led to believe an amended environmental impact statement should be approved in a matter of weeks.

“At that point, we are of the view that the U.S. State Department will have every piece of information it could require to make a decision,” he said, adding that when the required statutory notice periods are included, the department should be able to make a decision in two to three months.

TransCanada also explained details of its recently announced $3 billion, 500-kilometre Grand Rapids pipeline project, a 50 per cent joint venture with Phoenix Energy Holdings to bring diluted bitumen from Fort McMurray to the Edmonton region and transport diluent northward.

The dual line will be built in stages, with the smaller pipe in operation by 2015 and carrying diluted bitumen. When the larger 900,000 bpd pipeline is completed by mid-2017, the smaller line will revert to carrying 330,000 bpd of diluent north.

For the fourth quarter, TransCanada said profit fell 19 per cent as shipments on natural gas pipelines declined. Net income dropped to $306 million, or 43 cents a share, from $376 million, or 53 cents, a year earlier.

TransCanada is moving less natural gas because a glut in North American supplies has reduced prices, resulting in more of the fuel being kept in storage. Deliveries on its Canadian Mainline system fell 19 per cent to average 4.2 billion cubic feet a day during the quarter.

“While the majority of our assets continued to generate stable and predictable earnings and cash flow, plant outages at Bruce Power and Sundance A along with a lower contribution from certain natural gas pipelines did adversely affect our financial results,” said Girling.

SOURCE: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Shippers+keen+TransCanada+natural+line+conversion+carry+crude+eastward/7955127/story.html#ixzz2Kng7Fr00

Canadian Pipeline proposal is a realistic option, expert says

A pipeline bringing crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick could be more realistic than building a pipeline to the west coast, according to an energy expert.

Premier David Alward is in Alberta for three days to meet with Alberta Premier Alison Redford, oil executives and tour the oil sands in an attempt to drum up support for a pipeline to New Brunswick.

Warren Mabee, director of the Institute of Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University, said TransCanada Corporation’s proposal to convert an existing natural gas pipeline might be more realistic than other plans to move Alberta oil to the west coast.

“It’s caught a little bit of the public imagination,” he said.

“This is something that really would bring together a lot of Canada. The real question is, will it bring us together? Or will it open up more wounds and more divisiveness?”

The energy expert said the terrain is relatively flat between Alberta and New Brunswick, making the idea feasible.

If the west-to-east pipeline were to be approved, it would still take several years before western crude would be flowing into Saint John’s Irving Oil Ltd., the largest refinery in Canada.

Mabee said it would take five years if the project started now.

TransCanada Corporation has said it wants to convert an existing, underused natural gas line to do the job, but it would be up to the National Energy Board to approve the projects.

TransCanada has not yet formally submitted the proposal.

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2013/02/04/nb-pipeline-future-119.html

Nebraska governor approves Keystone XL route

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved TransCanada Corp.’s revised route for the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for a final decision from U.S. regulators on the project that would bring Canadian oil to the Texas coast.

The new route avoids Nebraska’s Sand Hills, an environmentally sensitive region overlaying the Ogallala aquifer, the state’s main source of groundwater. The pipeline will still cross the aquifer, though in a less sensitive area, according to a letter Heineman, a Republican, sent Tuesday to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informing them of his decision.

“Keystone would have minimal environmental impacts in Nebraska,” Heineman said in the letter. “The concerns of Nebraskans have had a major influence on the pipeline route, the mitigation commitments and this evaluation.”

Heineman requested that Nebraska’s environmental review and route approval be added to the study underway by the State Department, which has authority over the project because it crosses an international border. TransCanada executives have said U.S. approval for the pipeline could come by the end of March. Victoria Nuland, a spokesman for the State Department, said the review won’t be ready by then.

“Keystone XL is the most studied cross-border pipeline ever proposed, and it remains in America’s national interests to approve a pipeline that will have a minimal impact on the environment,” Russ Girling, chief executive officer for the Calgary-based pipeline company, said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

Supporters of the 1,661-mile project have said it will provide thousands of jobs and help the United States avoid dependence on energy sources from politically unstable places. Critics have turned the pipeline proposal into an environmental debate over Canada’s oil sands and the heavy crude’s contributions to air and water pollution. Blocking pipeline transport of the oil to markets in the U.S. and overseas might jeopardize development of the resource.

TransCanada’s original permit request to build the $7.6 billion pipeline, planned to stretch from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, was delayed and ultimately rejected last year by the State Department after Heineman and other Nebraska officials criticized the route.

The project should now get “the final green light,” Sen. Mike Johanns, a Nebraska Republican who opposed TransCanada’s original route, said in a statement. “I hope President Obama will swiftly approve the project so we can take a significant step forward in meeting our energy needs.”

After the initial proposal was rejected last year, TransCanada broke the project into two pieces, one running from Alberta to Steele City, Neb., and the other from Oklahoma to Texas refineries. Construction has begun on the southern portion of the pipeline, and environmental activists have been arrested in several areas of Texas after staging protests or chaining themselves to construction equipment.

SOURCE: http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Nebraska-governor-approves-Keystone-XL-route-4215201.php#ixzz2Itv8K5O1

5 Billion Pipeline Project – Awarded to TransCanada

TransCanada Corp said Wednesday it has been chosen by Progress Energy Canada Ltd. to build, own and operate a 5 billion Canadian dollar ($5.1 billion) pipeline project that would transport natural gas to a new liquefied-natural-gas export terminal planned off Canada’s west coast.

The Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal in British Columbia was proposed as part of the multi-billion takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp. by Malaysian state-run energy giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd, which closed last month.

Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada said it expects to finalize definitive
agreements for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project early this year. The proposed pipeline will transport natural gas primarily from the North Montney gas-producing region near Fort St. John, British Columbia to the LNG export facility, which is aimed at exporting natural gas to Asian markets.

The pipeline company also said it’s planning to extend its existing NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. system in northeast British Columbia to connect both to the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project and to additional North Montney gas supply from Progress and other parties. It estimates initial capital costs for the extension at about C$1 billion to C$1.5 billion.

Before Petronas closed its takeover of Progress, the two had said they were moving their LNG export project into the next phase of engineering and said a final investment decision would be made in late 2014. First LNG exports are targeted for 2018.

TransCanada lands second pipeline deal in Mexico

CALGARY — Mexican authorities have awarded TransCanada Corp. another natural gas pipeline contract.

The Calgary-based company said Monday that it will invest about US$400 million in a 413-kilometre pipeline between El Oro and Mazatlan, near Mexico’s west coast.

The 61-centimetre-diameter pipeline has a contracted capacity of 202 million cubic feet a day and is expected to be in service in the fourth quarter of 2016, TransCanada said.

The Mazatlan pipeline will connect with the US$1-billion Topolobampo pipeline that TransCanada was awarded last week.

TransCanada will build, own and operate the two new pipelines through its Mexican subsidiary, Transportadora de Gas Natural del Noroeste.

Both projects are supported by 25-year natural gas transportation service contracts with the Comision Federal de Electricidad, or CFE, Mexico’s federal power company.

“We are pleased to be working with the government of Mexico on new natural gas infrastructure that will bring its cleaner-burning natural gas to businesses and residents,” said TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling.

“These new projects build on our experience developing safe and reliable pipelines in Mexico and across North America.”

TransCanada already has one of North America’s largest networks of gas and oil pipelines, including two natural gas lines already operating in central Mexico. The company built, owns and operates the Guadalajara and Tamazunchale natural gas pipelines in central Mexico and will soon break ground on a Tamazunchale pipeline extension.

Besides is network of some 68,500 kilometres of natural gas pipelines that tap into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America, TransCanada is also developing one of North America’s largest oil delivery systems, including the controversial Keystone XL pipeline designed to transport Canadian crude to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The company began work this summer on a US$2.3-billion crude pipeline connecting an oil storage hub at Cushing Okla., to Texas refineries that is expected to start up in 2013. The Gulf Coast pipeline was initially part of TransCanada’s $7.6-billion Keystone XL proposal but has been held up by political and environmental wrangling in the United States.

Meanwhile, TransCanada is also one of the continent’s largest providers of gas storage and related services with approximately 380 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and has interests in more than 10,900 megawatts of power generation in Canada and the United States.

SOURCE: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/11/05/transcanada-lands-second-pipeline-deal-in-mexico/

TransCanada to invest $1-billion in Mexican natural gas pipeline

TransCanada Corp. plans to invest about $1-billion (U.S.) in a new natural gas pipeline in Mexico.

The Calgary-based pipeline giant announced Thursday that it has been awarded a contract to build, own and operate the pipeline by Mexico’s federal power company, the Comision Federal de Electricidad or CFE.

The 530-kilometre-long El Encino-to-Topolobampo pipeline will have a contracted capacity of 670 million cubic feet per day and is supported by a 25-year natural gas transportation services contract.

“Mexico’s government is engaged in a comprehensive plan to expand the nation’s electrical grid and generating capacity and much of that generation will be natural gas fired,” TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said in making the announcement.

“This award is another example of TransCanada’s commitment to help develop Mexico’s energy infrastructure in a sustainable and cost-efficient manner.”

The Topolobampo pipeline begins in El Encino, in Chihuahua state, and terminates in Topolobampo, in Sinaloa state, interconnecting with other pipelines that are expected to be built as a result of separate bid processes by the CFE.

Mr. Girling said TransCanada is bidding on a number of CFE proposals. The company has already built and is operating the Guadalajara and Tamazunchale pipelines and will soon break ground on a Tamazunchale pipeline extension.

TransCanada operates a network of natural gas pipelines that extends more than 68,500 kilometres and tap into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. It is also developing one of North America’s largest oil delivery systems.

The company began work this summer on a $2.3-billion crude pipeline connecting an oil storage hub at Cushing Okla., to Texas refineries. It’s expected to start up in mid to late 2013.

The Gulf Coast pipeline was initially part of TransCanada’s $7.6-billion Keystone XL proposal, which would have sent Alberta crude to the Gulf via six U.S. states but has been held up by political and environmental wrangling in the United States.

SOURCE: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/transcanada-to-invest-1-billion-in-mexican-natural-gas-pipeline/article4809829/

Keystone XL pipeline concerns are being addressed

A state agency has issued its preliminary review of the Keystone XL pipeline that appears to indicate most concerns are being addressed.

The draft evaluation report, released Tuesday afternoon by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, concluded that the new route of the controversial crude-oil pipeline successfully avoids the Sand Hills region of Nebraska, a step agreed to during a special session of the Legislature last year.

The report also stated that pipeline developer TransCanada Inc. had, by making some minor changes to the pipeline route in August, addressed concerns raised by the agency about crossing areas of sandy soils or areas near municipal drinking-water supplies of two small communities, Clarks and Western.

The agency also said TransCanada has agreed to compile an emergency response plan for leaks that might occur in the 36-inch, high-pressure pipeline, and buy $200 million in third-party liability insurance policy to cover any clean-up costs.

The company has provided the state with a chemical makeup of several forms of crude oil that will be shipped through the pipeline, which will carry 30 million gallons of oil a day. The exact composition of the oil, the agency said, will be made immediately available in the event of a leak.

Environmental groups, including Bold Nebraska and the Sierra Club, have raised concerns about the lack of information about the chemical makeup of diluted bitumen that will be carried by the pipeline.

While Tuesday’s draft report doesn’t raise “concerns” like those this summer about sandy soils and drinking-water wells in the path of the pipeline, he said it does “point out the impacts on different kinds of terrain” that will be crossed by the pipeline.

A public hearing on the draft report will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Albion, Neb. Linder encouraged the public to comment on the report, either at the meeting or by mail or email.

A final report will be issued after the hearing. Gov. Dave Heineman will have the final say on whether the state approves the pipeline’s route across Nebraska.

That decision will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of State, which will make the final judgment on whether the entire Keystone XL project will be allowed. The project will transport oil from Canada’s tar sands region to the U.S. Gulf Coast, and pick up some oil from North Dakota and Montana along the way.

Read More Here:

TransCanada Plans $3 Billion Oil-Sands Line With PetroChina

TransCanada Corp. (TRP) and a unit of PetroChina Co. Ltd. agreed to develop a C$3 billion ($3 billion) oil pipeline to ship crude from oil-sands projects in northern Alberta.

TransCanada and Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd. will each own 50 percent of the proposed Grand Rapids Pipeline, which will ship oil 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the Fort McMurray oil- sands production area to Edmonton, according to a statement today. The stake would be the largest taken by a Chinese company in a Canadian pipeline, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“This is the first major pipeline project to meet the needs of this fast-growing area,” TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said in the statement.

The plan includes a 900,000 barrel-a-day crude pipeline, and a 330,000 barrel-a-day pipeline for diluent, fluids mixed with tar-like bitumen so it can flow through pipelines. The project is expected to be in service by 2017.

“Transportation in the Athabasca region has become a bottleneck,” Zhiming Li, the chief executive officer of closely held Phoenix, said in the statement. “This transportation solution will be important to Phoenix and other potential producers in the area to monetize their huge resources.”

TransCanada will operate the system and Phoenix has agreed to ship crude on it.

Phoenix is a unit of publicly traded PetroChina, controlled by Chinese state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., according to filings. CNPC owns a controlling interest in PetroChina. Margaret Jia, a spokeswoman for CNPC companies in Canada, didn’t immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

Read More Here:

TransCanada proposes new Keystone XL route in Nebraska

WASHINGTON, Sept 5 (Via Reuters) – The company planning to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada to Texas said on Wednesday it has submitted a new route for the project that will avoid sensitive ecological areas in Nebraska.

TransCanada Corp said the pipeline will avoid the Sandhills, a region of prairie and sand dunes that is rich in plants and wildlife, with thousands of ponds and lakes.

President Barack Obama delayed a decision on the pipeline earlier this year, citing concerns about the northern portion of the route near a major aquifer and the Sandhills in Nebraska.

TransCanada has been working with Nebraska officials to come up with a new route and it hopes to have U.S. State Department approval for the northern section early next year.

“Based on feedback from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the public, we have refined our proposed routing,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, said in the release.

The alternative route submitted in an environmental report to Nebraska on Wednesday was developed “based on extensive feedback from Nebraskans, and reflects our shared desire to minimize the disturbance of land and sensitive resources in the state,” said Girling.

A Nebraska public affairs official said he expected the state to publish maps of the new route on its website later on Wednesday.

An environmentalist said she would withhold comment on the new route until she had seen a map of the project.

A public affairs official with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality said he expected the state to publish maps of the new route on its website later on Wednesday.

Construction on the 700,000 barrels per day southern part of the line, renamed the Gulf Coast project, has already begun after Obama gave his support for that section.

The Gulf Coast project will drain a glut of crude in the U.S. midsection fed mostly by the oil boom in North Dakota.

The northern section of the line needs approval from the State Department because it crosses the national border.

SOURCE: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/05/pipeline-keystone-route-idINL2E8K56YB20120905