Suncor, others lift veil on pipeline support

Wed Jan 4, 2012 6:43pm EST
 
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A quintet of Canada's largest oil sands producers has contributed money and signed shipping deals in support of Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO: Quote) Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific Coast, according to documents filed days before hearings into the contentious proposal are due to start.

Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO: Quote), Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.TO: Quote), Nexen Inc NXY.TO, Total SA (TOTF.PA: Quote) and MEG Energy Corp (MEG.TO: Quote) came forward on Wednesday for the first time with their interests in the C$5.5 billion ($5.42 billion) project in National Energy Board filings.

The companies did not disclose individual contributions or shipping commitments, but money from industry backers makes up about half of the C$200 million Enbridge seeks to amass to move the project through the regulatory stage, Enbridge spokesman Paul Stanway said

Until now, all but China's Sinopec Corp (600028.SS: Quote), which is investing in Canadian oil sands projects, had kept quiet about their interests in the proposal to ship crude from Alberta across the Rocky Mountains to the West Coast.

"Obviously it's an indication of support we're getting from industry on this project," Stanway said.

There are other backers that have yet to go public, he said.

The pipeline would move 525,000 barrels of Alberta crude a day to a port at Kitimat, British Columbia, where it could be shipped in large volumes on tankers to Asia for the first time.

It would also include an adjacent condensate pipeline to the oil sands region, where the light hydrocarbons would be blended with tar-like bitumen so it can flow more easily.   Continued...