An oilsands facility seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 10, 2012. Partners building Western Canada’s first diluent recovery unit project to allow more oilsands shipping by rail from Alberta say the merger of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and U.S. rival Kansas City Southern gives their project a shot in the arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

An oilsands facility seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 10, 2012. Partners building Western Canada’s first diluent recovery unit project to allow more oilsands shipping by rail from Alberta say the merger of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and U.S. rival Kansas City Southern gives their project a shot in the arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CP Rail/KCS rail merger to unite loading and unloading links for bitumen transport

Initial 50,000-barrel-per-day phase of the DRU and the Texas terminal are expected to be in service later this year

A partner in a project designed to allow more oilsands bitumen to be shipped by rail from Canada to the U.S. says the US$25-billion merger of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and U.S. rival Kansas City Southern promises to provide additional benefits.

Jim Albertson, senior vice-president of the Canadian business unit for Houston-based USD Group, says CP Rail and KCS have been “instrumental” in moving forward Western Canada’s first diluent recovery unit (DRU) now under construction at Hardisty in east central Alberta.

Although most of Western Canada’s crude-by-rail is shipped by Canadian National Railway Co. because its east-west main line runs through Edmonton and is closer to the oilsands of northern Alberta, CP Rail connects with an oil-loading terminal operated by USD Group and its DRU partner, Calgary-based Gibson Energy Inc., at Hardisty.

In conjunction with the DRU project, USD Group is building a new oil unloading terminal at Port Arthur, Texas, to receive and distribute the Canadian oil or “DRUbit” — with the terminal served by a KCS rail line.

Diluent is light oil which is mixed with sticky, heavy bitumen from the oilsands to allow it to flow in a pipeline. It makes up as much as a third of the volume of blended bitumen so reducing diluent increases bitumen export capacity.

The Gibson-USD Group project is designed to remove most of the diluent from oil transported by pipeline to Hardisty, allowing transfer of the concentrated heavy crude to railcars for shipping south, while the diluent can be recycled back to Alberta oilsands producers.

The initial 50,000-barrel-per-day phase of the DRU and the Texas terminal are expected to be in service later this year, while the rail merger is expected to close, if it gets shareholder and regulatory approvals, in mid-2022.

“Both Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern were instrumental in making the diluent recovery unit and DRUbit-by-rail (DBR) a reality,” said Albertson in an email.

“We fully expect that the combination of the two railroads will only strengthen their support for this new source of bitumen, which offers operational, safety and environmental benefits when compared with available alternatives.

“A unified network with a single DBR carrier should result in additional benefits to all parties, both now and in the future.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Most Read