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Alliance Pipeline NatGas Exports Restored to Full Capacity

Canadian natural gas exports returned to full capacity on Alliance Pipeline over the weekend after no damage was detected during an emergency partial shutdown to inspect a spring flood site in northwest Alberta.

Alliance on Monday reported finding "no integrity concerns" of bending or leaks where rainstorms and melting snow caused hazardous movement of a slope on a riverside stretch of its jumbo pipe, 48 inches in diameter.

An estimated 500 MMcf/d of capacity for liquids-rich gas exports to Chicago from northeastern British Columbia was restored as of Saturday after a four-day interruption, an Alliance statement said Monday.

The pipeline added that work is continuing to shore up the shifting slope along the Wapiti River, in remote countryside near the Alberta-BC boundary west of the regional industry capital of Grande Prairie.

The emergency gas traffic reduction affected about 30% of Alliance capacity for 1.6 Bcf/d in Canadian exports. After crossing into the United States, the flow grows by receiving American production from the Williston Basin via a tributary pipeline, the Tioga Lateral in North Dakota.

Alliance is currently canvassing Canadian industry support for a potential 30% increase in exports on its 3,848-kilometer (2,291-mile) route. Up to 500 MMcf/d of capacity could be gained by low-cost compressor additions that would cause no service interruptions, the offer says.

The 18-year-old Alliance system's capacity has stayed fully booked after expanding its service options prior to expiry of its initial 1999 package of 15-year transportation contracts. Production of liquids-rich gas that the line specializes in carrying is forecast to grow steadily from northeastern BC and northwestern Alberta shale deposits, led by the Montney formation.

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