Thursday, May 03, 2012

Access pipeline expansion relatively smooth sailing

To continue in this vein of pipeline stories, here's one on the billion dollar expansion of MEG Energy and Devon Energy's Access Pipeline system. The "Northeast Expansion" is not expected to run into the kinds of regulatory troubles that have so far shelved Northern Gateway and Keystone XL, largely because it's internal to Alberta and follows existing right of ways. The proposed new pipeline will be 42" in diameter and is referred to as "Great Dane size", apparently because they like to measure pipelines by the size of the biggest animal you can fit in them. Don't let this metrication fool you, however. As far as I can gather the operators intend to ship blended bitumen down the pipeline, not animals,  but it's nice to know they have the option.
The existing Access Pipeline consists of a 24" blended bitumen line running from the Conklin area (home to prolific SAGD operations such as Christina Lake and Foster Creek) through Lac La Biche (near Devon's Jackfish) to Edmonton and a 17" diluent line bringing diluent the other way. The new line will follow the same, or very similar, path.
The article says the line will eventually carry more than a million barrels a day, but this information package says it will initially only carry 350,000 barrels a day.

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