Canadian oil pipeline capacity remains tight



    CALGARY, June 26 /CNW/ - While there is spare capacity on some Canadian
oil pipeline systems, the National Energy Board (NEB) said today that oil
pipeline capacity overall continues to be tight.
    According to the NEB's Canadian Pipeline Transportation System
Assessment, additional capacity is soon needed to accommodate growing supply
and provide greater market flexibility. This is best demonstrated by the
recent number of announced and proposed pipelines and expansions to both
traditional markets and new markets such as the U.S. Gulf Coast and offshore
Asia and California.
    "Capacity constraints on oil pipelines in Canada were evident in 2007,"
said NEB Vice Chair, Sheila Leggett. "While there was some spare capacity,
periods of apportionment meant that some pipelines were at times not able to
fully meet shipper demand."
    High capacity utilization of Canadian oil pipelines is being driven by
growing oil sands production and continued strong demand in the U.S. Although
some additional capacity will be added in 2008, tight conditions will likely
exist for the remainder of the year.
    According to the report, there is adequate capacity in place on existing
natural gas pipelines. In fact, most NEB-regulated gas pipelines have some
excess capacity, even during the peak winter season. Pipeline use declined for
most natural gas pipelines in 2007. Stable or declining conventional supply
from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, growing demand within western
Canada, and competition from other supply basins, particularly in the western
U.S., resulted in reduced flows on pipelines transporting gas from western
Canada.
    The report also noted that shippers remain reasonably satisfied with the
services provided by pipelines. With respect to the financial strength of
pipeline companies regulated by the NEB, the report shows that key financial
ratios continue to be stable and credit ratings continue to be investment
grade.
    This annual report takes a look at the adequacy and economic efficiency
of the more than 45,000 km of oil, gas and petroleum product pipelines
regulated by the NEB. The report assesses how well the Canadian pipeline
system is achieving the following outcomes:
    
    -  There is enough pipeline capacity to move petroleum products from
       producers to consumers;

    -  Pipeline companies are providing services that meet the needs of
       shippers at reasonable prices; and

    -  Pipeline companies are able to attract the financial resources
       necessary to maintain their systems and build new facilities to meet
       the changing needs of the market.
    

    The NEB is an independent federal agency that regulates parts of Canada's
energy industry. Its purpose is to promote safety and security, environmental
protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian
public interest, within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of
pipelines, energy development and trade. As part of its mandate the NEB
monitors the supply of all energy commodities in Canada and publishes reports
on energy, called Energy Market Assessments.

    This news release and The Canadian Pipeline Transportation System
Assessment are available on the Board's Internet site at www.neb-one.gc.ca
under What's New!





For further information:

For further information: Lauren Hopkins, Lauren.hopkins@neb-one.gc.ca,
Communications Officer, Telephone: (403) 299-3712, TTY (teletype):
1-800-632-1663; For a copy of The Canadian Pipeline Transportation System
Assessment: National Energy Board Library, Telephone: (403) 299-3561, Email:
library@neb-one.gc.ca


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