TransCanada Corp. plans to move forward with plans to build and operate an oil and diluent pipeline system in Alberta. The company announced it received approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for the majority of its applications for the 460-km Grand Rapids Pipeline system, which will connect the producing area northwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, to terminals in the Edmonton/Heartland region. The project is expected to begin construction this fall.
“We are pleased that the Alberta Energy Regulator has approved Grand Rapids. The pipeline will be a critical piece of infrastructure to support the long-term growth plans and increased oil production in the Alberta oil sands and other oil-producing areas in northern Alberta,” said TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling. “With permits already received for Northern Courier and now Grand Rapids, we have made significant progress this year in advancing our capital program of Alberta regional liquids pipeline projects.”
TransCanada has partnered with Brion Energy Corp., formerly Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd., through a joint venture to develop the pipeline system. Each company will own 50 percent of the $3 billion pipeline project. Brion has also entered into a long-term transportation service contract in support of Grand Rapids.
The companies expect the pipeline to become operational in stages, with initial crude oil transported by mid-2016. The full system will have an ultimate capacity to move up to 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 330,000 bpd of diluent.
The Grand Rapids application was submitted to the AER in August 2013. A public hearing on the application concluded on July 18.
Grand Rapids will reapply to the AER to build and operate the Saleski terminal when required and will submit a new application for a revised route to cross the Athabasca River.
Grand Rapids is one component of TransCanada’s capital program, which includes $38 billion of commercially secured projects expected to be completed by the end of the decade. Of these, $3.5 billion of projects are planned to expand TransCanada’s liquids pipeline network in Alberta. This includes the Northern Courier and Heartland pipelines and TC Terminals projects, as well as a new storage terminal facility at Hardisty.