May 2024, Vol. 251, No. 5


Projects May 2024

Trans Mountain Expansion Expected to Ship Oil in June 

The Trans Mountain crude oil expansion’s line fill should be completed by the end of the month, and the initial waterborne exports from the expanded system are starting a month later, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told Reuters.  

Her comments on the sidelines of the CERAWeek Energy Conference in Houston are in line with March 1 statements by oil producer MEG Energy that Trans Mountain has called for 2.1 million barrels in April and the same amount of oil in May. 

Line fill is the last step before the expansion starts service, providing additional access for Canadian oil to refineries on the U.S. West Coast and in Asia. 

The pipeline expansion still faced technical challenges as it completed its final segment in British Columbia. One of those involved stringing pipeline through hard rock in the final segment. Trans Mountain received approval from the Canada Energy Regulator to use smaller-diameter pipe on that segment. 

The government-owned US$22.8 billion (C$30.9 billion) pipeline expansion will nearly triple the flow of crude from Alberta to Canada's Pacific Coast to 890,000 bpd, but has been plagued by years of delays and cost overruns. 

Trans Mountain earlier said it expects to begin service on the pipeline expansion in the second quarter. 

Enbridge Investing in Gray Oak, Other Pipeline Assets 

North American pipeline operator Enbridge raised its short-term profit growth forecast and said it will spend $500 million expanding pipeline and storage assets to improve its U.S. Gulf Coast presence. 

The Calgary, Alberta-based firm raised its core profit growth forecast to between 7% and 9% through 2026, from 4%–6% through 2025, saying the increase is primarily driven by its $14 billion acquisition of three U.S. gas utility companies from Dominion Energy. 

Enbridge, which operates North America's biggest oil pipeline network, the Mainline, said it expects Western Canadian oil production to grow by 500,000 bpd, or 10%, through 2025. That growth will fill pipeline capacity to 99% by 2026, Colin Gruending, executive vice president of liquids, said at a New York investor meeting. 

A near tripling of capacity on the rival Trans Mountain oil pipeline, scheduled for the second quarter, will not take a large volume from the Mainline, Gruending said. 

Enbridge can add 200,000 bpd capacity, or 7%, to the Mainline to meet growing U.S. Gulf of Mexico demand without spending much capital, CEO Greg Ebel said.

Vopak to Develop Hydrogen Pipeline Network in Singapore 

Tank storage firm Vopak said that it has signed an agreement with industrial gas company Air Liquide to develop and operate infrastructure for ammonia import, cracking and hydrogen distribution in Singapore. 

“As Singapore gears up for receiving and handling ammonia for power generation and bunkering, cracking of ammonia into hydrogen presents an additional application to help the industry shift to lower carbon feedstock,” Rob Boudestijn, president at Vopak Singapore, told Reuters. 

The company also recently said it will convert part of the Singapore Sebarok terminal for marine biofuel blending. 

The companies will look at developing low-carbon ammonia supply chains in Singapore — including ammonia cracking facilities, storage and handling infrastructure at Vopak's Banyan terminal — as well as distributing low-carbon hydrogen through a hydrogen pipeline network, Vopak said. 

Croatia Gains $566 Million to Build 4 Gas Pipelines 

Croatia’s energy infrastructure will receive a significant upgrade through a new contract that allots $566.4 million (533.08 million euros) to construct four gas pipelines by mid-2026, according to the nation’s business publication Poslovni Dnevnik.  

This initiative, known as the Strengthening of Gas Infrastructure project, is designed to bolster natural gas transportation capacity from the LNG terminal on Krk. 

The construction of these pipelines is expected to significantly increase gas transportation capacity to Slovenia and Hungary, the publication reported. Plinacro anticipates transporting 1.5 Bcm of gas annually to Slovenia and 3.4 Bcm to Hungary, compared to current capacities of 260 MMcm and 1.7 Bcm, respectively. The total length of the four pipelines will span 220 kilometers (137 miles), with completion targeted by mid-2026. 

The new pipeline will run from Zlobin-to-Bosiljevo, Bosiljevo-to-Sisak, Kozarac-to-Sisak and Zabok-to-Lučko. These pipelines will facilitate gas transportation from the Krk LNG terminal to Slovenia, Hungary, and other Southeast European countries. 

All pipelines will feature bi-directional gas flow capabilities and integration into Plinacro’s gas transport network management system. 

Ministry head Damir Habijan told Poslovni Dnevnik that the signing of the contract is of “great importance” in advancing Croatia's energy transition and overall system transformation, particularly in light of heightened concerns over natural gas supply security following Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

The project, funded through the NPOO as part of the REpowerEU plan, aims to enhance energy independence and supply source diversification for the EU. 

Plinacro’s board president, Ivica Arar, expressed gratitude for government support in securing grants for the project, noting that the investment will not impact gas transportation tariffs, according to Poslovni Dnevnik.  

Arar also highlighted the project's role in reducing reliance on Russian gas and enhancing supply security for Croatia and neighboring nations. 

Williams Delays Energy Gateway Amid Energy Transfer Dispute  

U.S. energy firm Williams Companies postponed the completion of its Louisiana Energy Gateway natural gas pipeline project following a dispute with a rival, Williams CEO Alan Armstrong said at a conference. 

The company is keen on the project, Armstrong said, but it has not released an updated timetable. 

The 1.8-billion Bcfd pipeline was originally set to come online this year, but it was pushed back to the second half of 2025, following a dispute with Energy Transfer, the company previously announced. 

Williams was able to re-route the line around the disputed area, he said. 

The project, which is under construction in Louisiana and Texas, will feed gas from the Haynesville shale field to the Gulf Coast, where demand for the fuel is growing to supply several liquefied natural gas export plants expected to enter service over the next few years. 

Officials at Energy Transfer were not immediately available for comment. 

Other energy firms, including Momentum Midstream and DT Midstream, have fought with Energy Transfer in court, accusing Energy Transfer of “blocking” their pipeline projects by not allowing them to cross Energy Transfer's pipelines in the area.

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