Canada’s biggest pipeline company, Enbridge Inc , fired back on Friday at the country’s largest oil producer, saying Canadian Natural Resources’ suggestions for determining future terms on the Mainline would cause at least a one-year delay.
Enbridge plans to sell 90% of space under long-term contracts to shippers on the nearly 3 million barrel per day Mainline, Canada’s longest oil pipeline system, rather than continue to ration space monthly.
The move comes as Canadian pipelines are congested, and some oil producers worry that Enbridge’s changes will further limit access.
CNRL told the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) last week that it should first consider whether Enbridge should be allowed at all to convert the Mainline from common carrier status, before it examines other issues. Breaking up the regulatory process into parts would drag it out by at least a year, and push the Mainline open season – the period for shippers to bid on space – to 2022, Enbridge said in a CER filing on Friday.
Enbridge wants the new Mainline contracts to take effect in mid-2021.
“Such delay might benefit CNRL by providing more time for it to sort out its transportation options,” Enbridge said in its filing, noting expansions planned for the rival Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipelines. “But the conclusion of the regulatory process should not be delayed to suit the commercial interests of CNRL.”