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

Alberta Oil - - FRONT PAGE - BY NICK WIL­SON // PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PAUL SWAN­SON

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

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