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A look at major pipeline project proposals in Canada

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS

Keystone XL pipeline

Proposal: TransCanada Corp. wants to construct a large-diameter pipeline between Hardisty, Alta., and Steele City, Neb. It would run through Baker, Mont., where U.S.-produced light crude oil from the Bakken formation would be added to the synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen from Alberta's oil sands. A southern segment of the pipeline began shipping crude from Cushing, Okla., to the Houston area last January. The project has been held up for years in regulatory review by the U.S. government.

Obstacles: Keystone XL has become a super-charged political issue in the United States. Most Republicans support it and most Democrats oppose it, including President Barack Obama, who says it was designed to take Canadian crude oil to world markets.

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Cost: $8-billion, up from $5.4-billion originally.

Capacity: 830,000 barrels per day.

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Proposal: Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. would build a second pipeline roughly parallel to its existing Trans Mountain line to move diluted bitumen and other products from Edmonton to its terminal in Burnaby, B.C., for shipment to largely Asia. The company filed an application to the National Energy Board a year ago and expects, if the regulatory application process is successful, to begin construction within a few years.

Obstacles: A storm of opposition from municipalities, First Nations, environmentalist groups and others. About 100 activists were recently arrested in Burnaby during exploratory work for the expansion project.

Cost: $5.4-billion.

Capacity: 540,000 barrels per day for the expansion.

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Northern Gateway Pipeline

Proposal: Enbridge Inc. would build a twin pipeline from Bruderheim, Alta., to Kitimat, B.C. The eastbound one would import natural gas condensate, and the westbound one would send diluted bitumen and synthetic crude from the oil sands to the West Coast for export to Asian markets. The project was proposed in the mid-2000s and has been postponed several times. Ottawa approved it earlier this year, but identified scores of issues to be resolved first.

Obstacles: The proposal has run into stiff opposition from First Nations, municipalities, environmentalists and oil sands opponents among others. The B.C. government has insisted on negotiated revenue sharing with Alberta.

Cost: $7.9-billion, although Enbridge has said it expects a significant increase.

Capacity: 525,000 barrels per day for the oil line; 193,000 barrels per day for the condensate line.

Energy East pipeline

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Proposal: TransCanada Corp. would convert thousands of kilometres of natural gas pipeline to ship oil from Alberta east as far as Ontario. The pipeline network would then be extended to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. The project was announced on Aug. 1, 2013, and the company submitted a formal application with the National Energy Board this fall.

Obstacles: The project has come under criticism over the risk of spills and the potential impact on belugas in the St. Lawrence. Gas companies in Eastern Ontario and Quebec have also expressed concerns about capacity shortfalls during times of peak demand. The Quebec and Ontario governments have both linked environmental issues with their approval.

Cost: $12-billion

Capacity: 1.1 million barrels per day

MacKenzie Valley oil pipeline

Proposal: The Northwest Territories government recently said it is contemplating an oil pipeline from Alberta's oil sands to its "Arctic Gateway" of Tuktoyaktuk that would largely follow the route of the decades-old MacKenzie Valley gas pipeline plan drawn up by Imperial Oil Ltd. and partners. From Tuktoyaktuk, oil could be shipped to global markets. The concept was highlighted in a recent report by Canatec Associates International Ltd., which pointed to Arctic Ocean shipping opportunities due to retreating sea ice.

Obstacles: Opposition from First Nations and environmental groups, as well as the high price of construction.

Cost: Unknown.

Capacity: Unknown.

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