Maintenance to cut up to 9 percent of Enbridge's Mainline capacity

Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:59pm EDT
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's largest pipeline company Enbridge Inc expects maintenance work over the next three months to cut throughput on the western leg of its crude export network by up to 9 percent, a company document seen by Reuters on Friday showed.

Pipeline space lost to maintenance by November will total nearly 190,000 barrels per day of the 2.4 million bpd of operating capacity on the Canadian portion or western leg of the Mainline system, which carries the bulk of Canada's crude exports to the United States.

Traders in Canada's oil capital Calgary keep a close eye on Enbridge pipelines as outages can leave crude bottlenecked in Alberta and Canadian grades trading at steep discounts to U.S. crude.

In its August capacity forecast for September to November, Enbridge said it expects 2.19 million bpd to move through the western leg in November, a drop of 7 percent from 2.36 million bpd moved in June.

The 2.2 million bpd eastern part of the system, which starts in Superior, Wisconsin, and feeds refineries and markets across the Midwest, will be hardest hit in October when 154,000 bpd or 7 percent of operating capacity is expected to go offline.

Enbridge is undertaking a multi-billion dollar Mainline expansion to meet booming oil sands production. However, some traders have warned chokepoints on the system will move upstream as congestion in the Midwest eases.

One Calgary-based trader said he expected crude prices to fall as maintenance ramps up in November, with some barrels getting stranded in Edmonton, Alberta.

He said the light to heavy crude spread could widen as "there is basically zero maintenance on the light lines", particularly in the eastern part of the system.   Continued...