THE HEARTLAND’S ARTERIES GET A SHOT IN THE ARM
The Alberta Industrial Heartland’s buildout of petroleum storage facilities, rail terminals and pipelines is heating up as the upstream bust fuels a midstream boom
AS THE WILDFIRE WHICH
came to be known as “The Beast” terrorized Fort McMurray, it also evaporated oil sands diluent demand, filling up condensate storage salt caverns more than 400 kilometers away. Dean Setoguchi, Keyera’s senior vice-president of its Liquids Business Unit says, “Storage was in high demand during the wildfires surrounding Fort McMurray, when some pipelines were shut in and diluent kept flowing into the Heartland from the U.S.” Planners didn’t build the caverns to deal with such an emergency. They built them to create a hub to manage seasonal demand, and more recently North America’s great gas glut. The price collapse that has damned much of Alberta’s upstream flow of capex, is conversely powering investment further downstream both above and below ground. Sprawling northeast of Edmonton, the Heartland is the epicenter of this activity that echoes with the sounds of cranes and hammers, while upstream drills have fallen silent.
Well, not all drills. The players in Alberta’s wet gas fields who have cherry-picked the best prospects are still increasing production of natural gas and NGLs that flow into the Heartland. Pembina Pipeline expects to bring on stream the 100 million cf/d, 5,500 b/d Duvernay I gas processing plant and the 35-kilometer gathering pipeline that connect to its Tony Creek, Alberta and Fox Creek, Alberta field hubs by H2 2017. This will take Pembina’s total output up to 1.6 bcf/d of natural gas and 75,000