Energy firm Enbridge has announced that it has received support from shippers and will go ahead with its investment of $6.28 billion in expanding the system of pipelines that transport crude from locations in Canada and the United States around North America.
The project, dubbed the Light Oil Market Access Program, will see improvements made to several pipeline systems spanning the continent in order to boost their capacity, including the North Dakota regional system, the United States mainline system, and the Canadian mainline terminal capability system.
This expanded ability to move light crude around the continent will have benefits for many refineries, notably those on the east coast, allowing Enbridge to increase fuel access by 400,000 barrels per day of light oil to markets in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as many areas in the midwestern United States. (Read More: Obama Under Increasing Pressure to Make Keystone XL Decision)
The announcement comes as Enbridge works to improve its penetration in delivering crude to North American markets, beginning with the launch of the so-called Eastern Access Program announced in May 2012, and a similar program intended to help ship oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico; all money invested so far has improved the mainlines that ship oil throughout the continent.
“It follows on the heels of our $2.7 billion Eastern Access Program announced in May, and our $5.8 billion upsized U.S. Gulf Coast Access Program announced in March, including a number of projects adding capacity to the existing mainline system announced in May,” said Enbridge president and chief executive officer Al Monaco.
Those changes have resulted in an increase of pipeline capacity from 200,000 barrels per day to 700,000 barrels per day, with potential capacity as high as 1.2 million barrels per day with all other necessary shipping variables in place.