Kinder Morgan revealed plans Thursday for an expanded $5 billion pipeline linking Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific port in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby. Asian customers have committed to buying huge amounts of product from the expanded line, which could see another oil tanker per day floating off B.C.’s coast.
From the Vancouver Sun:
The proposed expansion of the existing Alberta-to-Metro Vancouver pipeline, which Kinder Morgan wants operational by 2017, is to cost $5 billion. It will increase pipeline capacity for crude by 550,000 barrels a day, to 850,000 barrels from the current 300,000 barrels a day.
The expansion is bound to be controversial; Kinder Morgan now plans to construct as much new capacity as Enbridge Inc. has proposed for its contentious Northern Gateway pipeline, said Wilderness Committee campaigner Ben West.
“This is now the biggest proposal,” said West. “A bigger pipeline means bigger opposition.”
Finding new buyers for Canadian crude is a priority for the federal government under Stephen Harper (Ottawa runs on oil, after all). The Prime Minister has been increasingly vocal about the need to find new ways to get Alberta’s most valuable resource to buyers other than the United States. One imagines that an extra 550,000 barrels set for Asian markets would fit that bill.