Northern Courier Pipeline System

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Northern Courier Pipeline System is an operating oil pipeline system in Alberta, Canada.[1]


The pipeline runs between the Fort Hills mine site in Alberta, Canada and Suncor Energy’s oil terminal located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.[2]

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Project Details

  • Operator: TC Energy[3]
  • Owner: Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo, 85%), TC Energy (15%)[3]
  • Capacity:
  • Length: 90 km (56 mile)[1]
  • Status: Operating[1]
  • Start Year: 2018[1]


TC Energy operates the Northern Courier Pipeline and has a 15% ownership position in the asset. The 90 km (56 mile) pipeline system transports bitumen and diluent between the Fort Hills mine site and Suncor Energy’s terminal located north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The pipeline system is a critical piece of infrastructure to support the long-term growth and transmission of the Alberta oil sands. The pipeline commenced transportation services in January 2018.[1]

It was originally approved for construction by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in July 2014. The US$745 million pipeline project is part of the US$12.3 billion Fort Hills oil sands mining project, which is being developed by the Fort Hills Energy Limited Partnership (FHELP) comprising Suncor and its partners Teck Resources and Total SA.[4]

The Alberta oil sands project achieved first oil production in January 2018 and is expected to produce up to 194,000 barrels of oil a day during the first year of production. NCP was built by TC Energy and is operated by TC Energy's wholly owned subsidiary Northern Courier Pipeline GP. TC Energy initiated a feasibility study and consulted with stakeholders and Aboriginal communities for the Northern Courier pipeline project in June 2012.[4]

NCP’s bitumen pipeline comprises a 24-inch (610mm) diameter insulated steel pipeline running from 90km north of Fort McMurray to 27km north of Fort McMurray. The pipeline transports heated or diluted bitumen from the Fort Hills Mine and Bitumen Extraction Facility to the East Tank Farm (ETF). The diluent pipeline runs parallel to the Bitumen pipeline and transports diluents such as condensate, diesel and synthetic crude oil from the ETF to Fort Hills. It consists of a 12-inch (323.9mm) diameter steel pipeline. The bitumen pump station is located at the northern end of the pipeline, while the diluent pump station is installed at the southern end. The pipeline tank farm at the northern end comprises two 300,000 barrel bitumen tanks, one 50,000 barrel diluent tank and one 50,000 barrel diesel tank.[4]


Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), on behalf of certain of its clients, has entered into an agreement to acquire an 85% equity interest in Northern Courier Pipeline from TC Energy Corporation (TSX/NYSE: TRP). Financial terms were not disclosed. Following the closing of the transaction, TC Energy will hold a 15 per cent aggregate interest in Northern Courier Pipeline and will remain the operator of the pipeline.[3]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Northern Courier Pipeline System, TC Energy, accessed August 31, 2020
  2. Northern Courier Pipeline, TC Energy, accessed September 28, 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 AIMCo to acquire 85% of Northern Courier Pipeline from TC Energy, Private Capital Journal, May 28, 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Northern Courier Pipeline Project, Hydrocarbons Technology, accessed August 31, 2020

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