Keyera Corp. and SemCAMS Midstream, two major midstream players in Western Canada, in mid-May announced they are proceeding with the construction of their joint-venture project — a new NGL and condensate pipeline system out of the liquids-rich Montney and Duvernay plays of Alberta. The planned Key Access Pipeline System would provide the first direct competition for the transportation of NGLs and condensate out of these producing regions, currently dominated by Pembina Pipeline Co. Any and all transportation options for the movement of condensate and other NGLs out of the Montney and surrounding plays will likely be welcomed by Western Canadian natural gas producers, who are looking to capitalize on oil-sands producers’ growing demand for homegrown sources of condensate for use as diluent in bitumen transportation. Today, we provide key details about the project and how it fits into the region’s existing condensate/NGLs market.
Increases in liquids-rich natural gas production from the Montney, Duvernay and other plays have helped to lift Western Canada’s natural gas production fortunes in the past few years. We recently started examining this gas production recovery trend with the opener of our Get Me Out of Here series. The rise in the production of associated liquids, such as condensate, has begun to test the ability to move it all downstream for further processing. The task of getting liquids out of the Montney and Duvernay for a number of years has been handled by Pembina Pipeline Co.’s Peace Pipeline. Back in August 2018, SemsCAMS announced it was working with Plains Midstream Canada, a subsidiary of Plains All American, on a pipeline proposal to move condensate on what was dubbed the Montney to Market liquids pipeline. That plan now has been replaced by the KAPS project, which is now proceeding to development. (The reason for the switch by SemCAMS to working with Keyera is unclear).
Before looking more closely at KAPS, a brief description of Keyera and SemCAMS is needed. Keyera is a large midstream operator with natural gas gathering and processing plants in the foothills and northwest of Alberta; the company also owns natural gas liquids fractionation and transportation assets, provides storage and marketing services, and offers a large condensate logistics service through its diluent hub in Fort Saskatchewan, AB, with further connections to its operations in Edmonton. (We covered some of Keyera’s liquids storage operations in Edmonton & Hardisty.) From both Fort Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Keyera can ship condensate for use as diluent via a number of different pipelines to oil sands operations in and around the Fort McMurray area. SemCAMS, jointly owned by Tulsa, OK-based SemGroup Corp. and private investment firm KKR, is one of the largest natural gas processing companies in Western Canada and owns gas and liquids gathering pipelines that feed several large gas processing plants in the foothills of Alberta.