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Trans Mountain embarks on another month with shippers looking for more room

The company says the system was oversubscribed by 32 per cent in March
An expanded Trans Mountain pipeline will result in up to 34 oil tankers transiting Burrard Inlet each month. (via Trans Mountain)

Current capacity on the existing Trans Mountain pipeline continues to be insufficient to meet the needs of shippers, Kinder Morgan Canada says.

The 300,000 bbl/d pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., which has been operating since 1953, is overbooked by 44 per cent for the month of April.

The National Energy Board (NEB) describes how it works contracting space on the system: shippers nominate volumes for delivery into the pipeline each month. In a given month, if shippers nominate more volume than the pipeline can transport, each shipper’s nominated volume is reduced by the same percentage.

Trans Mountain has had significant apportionment over the past several years, the NEB says, indicating that pipeline capacity “has at times been inadequate to meet shipper demand.”

Kinder Morgan says that shipper nominations for April have been reduced by an average of 44 percent, meaning that shippers will only be able to deliver 56 per cent of nominated volumes.

The company says the system was oversubscribed by 32 per cent in March and February of this year, and oversubscribed by 35 per cent in January 2018.

“The limited capacity of the system today prohibits shippers from establishing reliable access to trade consistently,” Kinder Morgan says.

Thirteen shippers – a who’s who of the oilsands – have committed roughly 80 per cent of the capacity of the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion over 15 to 20 years, the company says.

The original estimated in-service date for the project of December 2019 has been delayed by up to a year to December 2020 due to a slower than anticipated permitting process.

– Deborah Jaremko, JWN Energy