TransCanada, Phoenix Energy join forces to build $3B pipeline

Grand Rapids pipeline will stretch 500km, carrying oil sands crude and diluent by 2017.

CALGARY—TransCanada Corp. and Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd. are forming a partnership to build a $3-billion pipeline project in Northern Alberta to serve an area of emerging oil sands production.

Each of the companies would own 50% of the Grand Rapids project, which they expect will carry crude oil and diluent for oil sands producers northwest of Fort McMurry, Alta. by early 2017.

Calgary-based TransCanada operates one of North America’s largest networks of energy pipelines.

Its best-known development is the controversial Keystone XL project, which would expand the company’s capacity to carry Alberta crude to refineries in the US Gulf Coast region.

The Keystone XL project has been stalled by concerns about the environmental impact of building the pipeline, as well as the increased risk that could occur in the event of a major spill.

The pipeline industry, including TransCanada, argues that their networks are vital to link the US with a stable source of energy and that technological advances have reduced the risk.

In Canada, there’s the additional incentive to open up new markets and improve prices for oil and gas produced in western Canada.

Zhiming Li, Phoenix’s president and chief executive officer, said the company is committed to developing its Dover and MacKay River oilsands assets.

The Grand Rapids project would stretch 500 kilometres to an area northwest of Fort McMurray, one of the centres of Canada’s oilsands industry.

©The Canadian Press