Calgary-based energy services company Enbridge Inc. has launched a surprise solo bid to build an "over-the-top" pipeline carrying North Slope and Mackenzie Delta gas to southern markets.
The only pipeline company currently operating in the Canadian Arctic, Enbridge is proposing to build, own and operate a US$15 billion system.
Chief executive officer Pat Daniel said Jan. 30 that Enbridge has "developed what we think is the most logical, cost-effective and environmentally friendly route out of the North."
He said Enbridge has kept a low profile until now, leaving the producers and owners of the gas reserves to weigh their pipeline options and choose what they think is best without any external pressures.
Daniel said the plan calls for two, twinned 36-inch diameter lines connecting the North Slope through a subsea line across the Beaufort Sea with the Delta. The line would be about four miles offshore.
Both Alaska and Delta gas would be shipped down the Mackenzie Valley to Alberta, where it would be fed into the Alliance Pipeline Ltd. system to the Chicago area. Enbridge has a 21 percent stake in Alliance, which currently ships about 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of gas from northeastern British Columbia.
The proposal almost mirrors that of the Houston-based Arctic Resources Co. and its Canadian affiliate, ArctiGas Resources Corp., which submitted its first information package to Canada's National Energy Board earlier this month.
Any talk of building an "over-the-top" system has encountered stiff resistance from the Alaska and Yukon governments and environmentalists.
Enbridge, with 5,000 employees and 9,000 miles of pipelines, operates the world's longest crude oil pipeline, from Alberta to eastern Canada and the U.S. Midwest. It also runs an oil pipeline from Norman Wells in the central Northwest Territories to northern Alberta and in 1999 started the first gas deliveries inside Canada's Arctic Circle with a short line from the Delta to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.