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Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge will consider adding around 200,000 barrels per day to its oil pipeline system carrying crude to the United States once the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline in Canada becomes operational, a senior Enbridge executive has told Reuters in an interview.
Enbridge operates the Mainline pipeline network, which has the capacity to transport nearly 3 million bpd of light and heavy crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta, to the U.S. Midwest and Ontario.
But the Trans Mountain Expansion project, whenever it becomes operational, is set to triple the takeaway capacity from Alberta to the Canadian Pacific Coast in British Columbia, competing with Enbridge’s Mainline system for shipping Canadian crude.
Once the expanded Trans Mountain oil pipeline begins operations, Enbridge would consider boosting the capacity of Mainline, Marc Weil, Senior Vice President of commercial in Enbridge's Liquids Pipelines business unit, told Reuters.
“Once that happens, we do have some additional egress options for the basin and we think that at the right point in time, (producers) will be looking for some additional insurance and we'd be engaging in talks with them at that point,” Weil said.
Throughputs on the Mainline pipeline network near Gretna, Manitoba, have been higher than the five-year average so far this year, according to data from the Canada Energy Regulator.
Yet, the Trans Mountain Expansion project, set to triple the volume of crude shipped from Canada’s oil sands to its Pacific Coast, would intensify competition for Canadian heavy crude in the Midwest, where refiners have so far received discounted crude from Canada, analysts say.
The Trans Mountain expansion is expected to raise the prices U.S. refiners in the Midwest pay for Canadian oil by up to $2 per barrel, analysts tell Reuters.
Currently, the project is expected to start up early next year, but further delays cannot be ruled out after years of setbacks.
Construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was 94% mechanically complete with around 42 kilometers of pipe left to install as of the middle of August 2023.
However, the start-up of the expanded pipeline could be set back by nine months unless regulators approve a proposed change of its route.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.