Both TransCanada Pipelines and Irving Oil recently made important announcements concerning possible construction of a new pipeline.  The Energy East Pipeline was first conceived just over a year ago but on August 1st it became more than just a pipedream, that's when Irving Oil committed to building a $300 million marine export facility in NB.  The same day TransCanada announced that it would proceed with its $12 billion pipeline project.  The export terminal will enable oil companies using the pipeline to export excess oil not used locally.  The pipeline is basically a 1400 km extension to a 3000 km existing line that connects Alberta to Quebec.  It will have a capacity of 1.1 million barrels and gives Canadian oil companies access to markets in Atlantic Canada, Europe and possibly as far away as India (2400 oil companies are based in Alberta).  Atlantic Canada imports approximately half a million barrels per day of foreign oil at higher prices than west canadian select (wcs).   

Energy East Pipeline initial design/construction in 2015. operational by 2018.

August 1, 2013 the first major oil pipeline connecting Atlantic Canada to Alberta is closer to becoming a reality which is great news for Maritimers but especially the province of New Brunswick where the local economy is set to benefit the most.

The project has a cost of $12 billion but will pay dividends in Atlantic Canada where jobs will be created (50 full time at the new export terminal alone) and gas prices will be lowered (nearly 50% of oil is imported and that oil commands higher prices than Alberta west-canadian-select crude).

Advantages

Saint John is home to Canada's largest oil refinery (350th bpd) which could undergo expansion as a result of the increased throughput.

Imperial Oil (exxonmobil) recently announced that it will closing its 95 year old 70,000+ bpd refinery in Dartmouth, NS. The closure leaves Halifax Shipyards with a problem - propane and butane supply shortfall.  If there were more pipelines in place the refinery in Dartmouth might not have been shut down (exit-year 2013).

Environmental Concerns

Environmentalists cite oil spills in 2009 as a reason to hault construction but I say not so fast !  Pipeline technology has come a long way since those older pipelines were constructed (some more than a decade old).  Like the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, the newest portion of the Energy East pipeline will be built to prevent leaks.   Pipeline companies have developed new leak detection systems which makes use of both infrared equipment and acoustic sensors.  After the Lac Megantic rail incident, Quebec may be more supportive of a new pipeline.

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