January 29, 2015 / 11:39 PM / 3 years ago

Plains 70,000 bpd Saskatchewan crude-by-rail terminal due mid-2015

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Plains Midstream Canada, a subsidiary of Plains All American Pipeline, has started looking for workers at its new crude-by-rail unit train terminal in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan, due to start up mid-2015, according to the company website.

Plains, which also operates an approximately one million-barrel storage facility in Kerrobert, is looking to hire workers including instrumentation technicians, rail engineers, loaders and supervisors for the $140 million facility.

Initial capacity at the terminal will be one unit train, or 70,000 barrels per day, with capacity to expand to two trains daily.

Unit trains are dedicated crude-oil trains, up to a mile long, that can carry more crude and offer better economics than mixed-cargo manifest trains.

More than a dozen new unit train terminals have been proposed for Western Canada as an alternative to congested export pipelines, but many projects have been beset by delays and cost overruns.

Narrow differentials between Canadian and U.S. benchmark crude are also erasing arbitrage opportunities to ship cheap crude from land-locked Alberta to higher-priced U.S. markets.

Still, Canada exported 182,059 bpd of crude by rail in the third quarter of 2014, according to the National Energy Board’s latest data, and that figure is expected to continue rising.

Plains also ships crude from other manifest terminals in Western Canada, and will have capacity to transport around 100,000 bpd once Kerrobert is operating, Plains Midstream Canada president Dave Duckett said at a June analyst meeting.

The terminal will connect into Plains’ Manito Pipeline system and the Enbridge Inc system, and be served by Canadian Pacific Railway.

Additional reporting by Kristen Hays; editing by Gunna Dickson

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