“Pipelines have become the focal point of debate when looking at the energy industry” That comment was made by Norman Rinne, the Director of Business Development with Kinder Morgan.
Rinne told the crowd at the World Heavy Oil Congress being held in Edmonton, Alberta that all you have to do is look at the ongoing Keystone XL pipeline project to understand the challenges faced by the oil industry when it comes to building new infrastructure.
Kinder Morgan is in the pipeline business operating a number of lines that transport approximately 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and refined petroleum from the oil sands in Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia and Washington state.
The company wants to twin its Trans Mountain line which would more than double the current daily output. Rinne says the goal is to complete the 5.4 billion dollar project by late 2018.
The approval process is far more arduous than it once was. Rinne told the crowd a few years ago there were 4 interveners wanting to speak to one of Kinder Morgan’s projects. The current one has 400 interveners wanting the answers to 20,000 questions.
Rinne believes satisfying stakeholders is key and acknowledges sometimes his companies timelines don’t often work with others impacted by development–in particular First Nations. “Our products impact on their land, so we have to come up with a solution that benefits everyone.”
Rinne was also asked about transporting oil products by rail. “The advantage is it gets a project on line quickly with one taking only two years to be up and running. But it is more expensive, less reliable and less efficient than pipelines.”
Having said that the panel agreed rail is a good compliment to pipelines and should be a part of Canada’s energy future.