Pipeline boom in North America

THE shale gas boom has helped underpin an estimated $US4.3 billion ($A4.5 billion) spend on new onshore pipelines in North America this year, according to energy research and consulting firm Douglas-Westwood.
Pipeline boom in North America Pipeline boom in North America Pipeline boom in North America Pipeline boom in North America Pipeline boom in North America

"The primary motives for newly announced North American onshore pipeline projects are to increase operators' access to shale plays, relieve bottlenecks in regions such as the US Midwest, satisfy growing demand elsewhere, or replace ageing infrastructure," DW analyst Neha Rustagi said.

The pace of pipeline development is yet to match the rate of exploration success in key US regions.

"Between 2011 and 2012, the number of productive wells in US shale oil plays increased from a few hundred to over 4000," Rustagi said.

"These developments have left many regions, such as the northeast and the Bakken, with tremendous supply that is constrained by a lack of takeaway capacity.

"Where they have not yet been built rail and trucks have become a riskier, more expensive substitute."

Pipeline development is also ramping up in Canada.

"Output from Alberta's crude oil reserves, the third largest in the world, has been forecast to increase 26% from 2012 to 2015 and over 5000 miles of pipeline have been proposed for construction in Canada by 2018," Rustagi said.

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