CALGARY – Enbridge Inc. is planning to build a new pipeline to bring diluent — used to thin-out oilsands bitumen so it can flow through pipelines — to industry players in northern Alberta.
The company envisions a 200,000-barrel-per-day conduit with a price tag of $1 billion, said Vern Yu, senior vice-president of business and market development. Depending on how keen the industry is on the pipeline, it could be expanded to 300,000 barrels per day.
Traditionally, oilsands producers have used pipelines dedicated to each of their projects to bring in diluent, Yu told Enbridge’s investor day in Toronto.
Enbridge is now looking at an industry-wide approach with its Norlite project.
“What we’ve found is that being able to offer an industry solution, we are able to offer lower tolls to our customers,” Yu said.
“So we’re pretty much at the final stages of getting commercial support with a few anchor shippers to make a project go forward…We hope to finalize these commercial discussions in the next few months and be able to formally announce the project.”
Enbridge is the dominant Alberta crude shipper, transporting more than one million barrels a day from the Fort McMurray, Alta., area to market hubs in Edmonton and Hardisty, Alta. along its Athabasca and Waupisoo pipelines.
Projects are in the works to nearly double that capacity, and Yu said he expects Enbridge will have enough commercial support to build another pipeline to Edmonton and another one to Hardisty by latter part of this decade.