The regulatory process for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to connect Alberta's oil sands and markets in Asia, is shaping up to make the TransCanada's Keystone XL approval look like a cake walk.
Starting in January, an unprecedented 4,000-plus people – the vast majority environmental activists – will speak for a collective 650 hours at public hearings on the controversial pipeline that would stretch for 1,170km from Brudenheim in Alberta to a new marine terminal at Kitimat in northern British Columbia, Canada. The project is already almost a year behind schedule and would not go into operation in 2017 at the soonest.
The Calgary Herald reports Enbridge suggested environmental watchdogs are trying to overwhelm the regulatory process. “The intent of these campaigns, you don’t have to know, frankly, any more than the title of the main one, ‘Mob the Mic!’” said Paul Stanway, Enbridge manager of communications for Northern Gateway, regarding the Victoria-based Dogwood Initiative’s registration drive.
MINING.com reported in September MEG Energy, a small oil sands developer partly owned by China’s CNOOC, ponied up $100 million to join another Chinese state-owned firm Sinopec as financial backers of Northern Gateway. Slowing demand in the US is adding pressure for a go-ahead on the pipeline that should afford Canada world prices for its oil, currently priced against heavily discounted US crude.
The pipeline will have the capacity to export approximately 525,000 barrels of oil per day and import approximately 193,000 barrels of condensate a day. The pipelines will be buried at a depth of one metre in a 25-metre wide right-of-way. The Kitimat Marine Terminal will include two ship berths and 14 tanks for oil and condensate, which thins heavier oil products.