Canada regulator approves Enbridge's Alberta oil pipeline plan

CALGARY, Alberta Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:25pm EST

CALGARY, Alberta Jan 30 (Reuters) - The National Energy Board, the regulator for Canada's major pipeline projects, on Thursday recommended the federal government approve Enbridge Inc's C$1.8 billion (US$1.61 billion) plan to build an oil pipeline linking Edmonton, Alberta, to the province's largest storage hub at Hardisty.

The board said the 182-kilometer (113-mile) pipeline, which would carry 570,000 barrel per day of crude between the two storage centers, was in the public interest provided the company complied with 14 conditions primarily covering construction and environmental protection.

The federal cabinet, which strongly backs expansion of Canada's oil pipeline system, has six months to decide if it will allow the project to proceed.

Edmonton is the terminus for a number of pipelines serving oil sands projects in Northern Alberta, where production is expected to nearly double to 3.1 million bpd by 2020.

Hardisty is the starting point for Enbridge's Alberta Clipper pipeline, which takes 450,000 bpd of oil to Superior, Wisconsin, as well as TransCanada Corp's 590,000-bpd Keystone pipeline and its planned Keystone XL line.

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