UPDATE 2-Kinder Morgan applies to expand Trans Mountain pipeline

Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:13pm EST
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta Dec 16 (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP filed an application with Canadian regulators on Monday to nearly treble the capacity of its Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day.

The facilities application to the National Energy Board (NEB) is the next step in Kinder Morgan's bid to expand the existing 300,000 bpd line that runs from Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia.

The company filed preliminary plans on the C$5.4 billion ($5.10 billion) project with the NEB earlier this year.

The 715 mile (1,150 km) Trans Mountain line is the only pipeline running from Alberta's vast oil sands to Canada's Pacific coast and the proposed expansion has received strong support from producers keen to export their crude to international markets.

The NEB will establish a hearing schedule for a public regulatory review of the project. If approved, Kinder Morgan expects the expanded pipeline to start operating in late 2017.

Canada's oil industry is relying on new pipelines to transport booming production out of Alberta and alleviate steep price discounts on oil sands crude. Industry groups welcomed the filing.

"The Trans Mountain project ... represents one of several transportation infrastructure projects needed to help Canadians realize full value and benefits for the resources they own," said Greg Stringham, vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).   Continued...