2012 Worldwide Pipeline Construction Report

By Rita Tubb, Managing Editor | January 2012, Vol. 239 No. 1

Still awaiting a construction start is TransCanada’s $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline. The route of the 1,661-mile, 36-inch crude oil pipeline begins at Hardisty, Alberta and extends southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Late last year, the State Department announced it would delay a final verdict on whether the pipeline is in the national interest until early 2013 in order to conduct an environmental analysis of an alternative route that would navigate the pipeline away from environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska.

North America also accounts for several pipelines in the planning and engineering phase, including Kinder Morgan’s 240-mile Cochin Marcellus Lateral Pipeline that will originate in Marshall County, WV and terminate at an interconnect with the KM Cochin Pipeline in Fulton County, OH. Once completed, the pipeline will transport NGLs from the Marcellus producing region of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to fractionation plants and petrochemical facilities in Illinois and Canada. The target in-service date for the pipeline is mid-2012.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. plans to build a 1,230-mile pipeline to transport ethane from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the company’s natural gas liquids storage complex at Mont Belvieu, The pipeline would have an initial capacity of 125,000 bpd and can be expanded to meet increased shipper demand. Commercial operations are slated in Q1 2014.

Oneok Partners will invest $910 million to $1.2 billion by late 2013 to: 1) construct the new 570-mile, 16-inch Sterling III NGL Pipeline to transport either unfractionated NGLs or NGL purity products from the Midcontinent to the Texas Gulf Coast; 2) reconfigure its existing Sterling I and Sterling II NGL distribution pipelines to transport either unfractionated NGLs or NGL purity products; and 3) build a 75,000-bpd NG fractionators, MB2, at Mont Belvieu. The Sterling III Pipeline will cost between $610-810 million and have an initial transport capacity of 193,000 bpd with possible expansion to 250,000 bpd. The pipeline will traverse the Woodford shale and provide transport capacity for NGL production from the growing Cana-Woodford Shale and Granite Wash play. Completion is scheduled in 2013.

Getting Alaska’s North Slope (ANS) natural gas to market has been an elusive goal since oil production started in the late 1970s. Plans to build a major natural gas pipeline to deliver ANS natural gas to markets have come and gone over the years. One project still being evaluated to deliver North Slope natural gas is the 1,717-mile TransCanada-ExxonMobil Alaska Pipeline that would extend from Prudhoe Bay to points near Fairbanks, and Delta Junction, AK and then to the Alaska-Canada border where it would connect to a new pipeline that will link up with the pipeline system near Boundary Lake, AB.

TransCanada plans to file permitting applications in both the U.S. and Canada in Q4 2012 with approvals anticipated in Q4 2014. Construction of the $32 -41 billion project is scheduled to start in 2015 with first gas being available in mid-2020.

Still awaiting a development decision is Canada’s Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline project that received the stamp of approval from an independent panel charged with considering the environmental, social and economic impacts of the proposed $16 billion, 743-mile line on the Northwest Territories.