A tale of two pipelines - Trans Mountain gets another green light, while Line 3 Replacement still stuck on yellow

A tale of two pipelines - Trans Mountain gets another green light, while Line 3 Replacement still stuck on yellow

Two major pipeline expansion projects were back in the headlines this week, although it still remains unclear exactly when Alberta's oil producers can expect to see additional export capacity.

Trans Mountain Expansion poised to restart

As expected, the Trudeau Liberals re-approved the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP), paving the way for construction to hopefully restart later this summer

According to Trans Mountain President Ian Anderson, construction is expected to restart in September, and be completed within 30 to 34 months. That would bring the in service date to roughly the mid-2022. Earlier this week, the company confirmed it already began moving pipes to various worksites throughout Alberta and BC.

Alberta's energy patch has yet to pop the champagne corks just yet, as the government has left the door open for this latest approval to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Once completed, TMEP will add 590,000 bbl/day of export capacity to Canada's west coast, destined primary for refineries in Washington State, California and Asia. 

ENBRIDGE LIQUIDS PIPELINE MAP (COURTESY ENBRIDGE)

Line 3 Replacement still stalled

Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources have warned Enbridge they won't be able to issue permits for its Line 3 Replacement (L3R) due to a recent court ruling that found the project's environmental impact statement (EIS) to be deficient.

Back in early June, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the state's approval of L3R, after concluding its EIS failed to properly model the impacts of a potential crude spill into the Lake Superior watershed.

Although exact impacts of the ruling are still unclear, Enbridge says the new spill model "can be completed efficiently."

Enbridge had previously warned the new line would likely not be in service until the second half of 2020 due to regulatory and permitting delays at both the state and federal levels. Permits from the state’s environment and natural resources agencies were originally expected to be in hand on July 1st, although officials say they will continue to progress the application.

Enbridge has yet to comment as to whether this latest setback will result in further delays.

Line 3 transports crude oil from Western Canada into Enbridge's terminals in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Once replaced, capacity would be restored from the current 390,000 bbl/day back to its original nameplate of 760,000 bbl/day.

US crude storage capacity — key highlights from the EIA's latest biannual inventory review

US crude storage capacity — key highlights from the EIA's latest biannual inventory review

Friday Five: What's moving oil markets this week

Friday Five: What's moving oil markets this week