No million-barrel tankers in plan: Kinder Morgan

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Jennifer Moreau

Kinder Morgan is not expecting giant Suezmax tankers in the Burrard Inlet, should the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion go through, contrary to the company’s original pitch to investors in 2010.

Greg Toth, project director for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, said there’s a lot of misinformation about the pipeline, and the company is hoping to clear up misconceptions at two public information sessions in Burnaby this Saturday and Monday.

“The common ones are everything from the size of tankers – that we’re going to be moving super tankers, and our business case for expansion is really predicated on the same size of tankers we use today, the Afromax class tankers,” Toth said. “That’s the maximum size of ship we load today.”

Afromax is a class of tankers that can carry 650,000 barrels of oil if fully loaded. (Kinder Morgan’s customers load their Afromax tankers to 90 per cent capacity, according to Toth.)

“There will be smaller tankers that we also load,” Toth said. “It’s really the shippers of the oil that make the arrangement of the oil for transportation. It may be a mix

of Afromax tankers and the smaller Panamax tankers and some barges.”

Suezmax tankers have a maximum capacity of 1 million barrels when fully loaded, and according to an earlier presentation to investors from Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson, Suezmax tankers were definitely in the picture.

The 2010 presentation outlines the expansion plans for the Westridge Marine Terminal and lists Suezmax tankers in the future and expanded dock capacity with two berths.

According to the presentation, Port Metro Vancouver was supportive of the expansion.

Kinder Morgan’s $4 billion expansion plan will more than double the line’s capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 750,000. The Trans Mountain pipeline is the only line that runs oil prod-

ucts from Alberta to the West Coast.

Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart has been following the pipeline issue since he was elected in spring 2011, and he was given a copy of the presentation when he met with Anderson.

“They were quite clear from the beginning (that) their expansion included

dredging under the Second Narrows Bridge and bringing in a larger class tanker, but I suspect there’s been some pushback from the public on this and they’ve dropped it from their proposal,” Stewart said. “If you ask the investors who have signed these long-term contracts with Kinder Morgan, I’m sure they are counting on this as part of the plan.

“I think it’s ecome an inconve-ient truth for the ompany,” he said. They’ve done their olling, I’m sure, nd they know this s a major sticking oint, and so they

are going to deny that this will ever happen in the future, that this is not connected.”

According to Kinder Morgan spokesperson Ali Hounsell, Anderson’s 2010 presentation was old information from before the company’s “open season.” (The open season was a call out to shippers, to see whether they would sign up for long-term contracts should the pipeline expansion go through.)

“It’s not being considered anymore,” Hounsell said. “Really, Trans Mountain, Kinder Morgan is indifferent to the size. We just thought in 2010 that was one of the ideas the customers might be interested in, that they might want or need the commitment to larger ships to support the expansion, but that wasn’t the case.

“In the end, the shippers are committed to the expansion based on the existing regulations, including the limitations in the Port Metro Vancouver harbour operations manual that restricts the size of the vessels.

“So, it was not, in the end, needed. All that was before the open season process,” she said.

Kinder Morgan has yet to apply to the National Energy Board for project approval.

The company’s two open house information sessions will be on Saturday, Nov. 24 at Stoney Creek Community School, 2740 Beaverbrook Cres., drop in from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 26 at Eagle Creek Restaurant at Burnaby Mountain Golf Course, 7600 Halifax St., drop in from 5 to 8 p.m.

staff reporter
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