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Empress Processing Facilities Return to Service

Inter Pipeline Fund said its Empress II processing plant in Alberta is now fully operational after being down for repairs due to damage caused by a thunderstorm on the evening of June 23. Empress I is the only straddle plant out of six in the area that remains out of service, a BP Canada spokeswoman said. BP operates several of the facilities for Inter Pipeline Fund and others.

Empress II restarted natural gas liquids (NGL) production on July 2 at 33% of its normal rate, Inter Pipeline said, and volumes gradually increased over the past week as repair work was completed. In fact, NGL production at Empress II is now above pre-storm levels, it said. Empress V resumed full operations on June 28.

The straddle plants are located 62 miles northeast of Medicine Hat. They extract natural gas liquids, including ethane, propane, butanes and condensate, from natural gas produced in Alberta. Nova Chemicals, the largest chemical producer in the province, said when the storm hit last month, it knocked out about half of the total ethane supply in the province. Meanwhile, TransCanada PipeLines was left transporting a much richer gas stream.

The Empress II plant processes 2.6 Bcf/d and produces 40,000 b/d of ethane and 20,000 b/d of propane. Empress V processes 1.1 Bcf/d of natural gas and produces 17,000 b/d of ethane and 13,000 b/d of propane. And EnCana's Empress plant processes 1.2 Bcf/d of gas.

Inter Pipeline Fund said the weather related disruptions at the Empress II and Empress V facilities have had a negligible impact on its cash flow and no impact to monthly cash distributions. Inter Pipeline owns 100% of the Empress II and 50% of the Empress V facility.

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