The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday, May 8, edition that unnamed sources say Enbridge is asking oil shippers to sign at least eight-year contracts to move crude on its Mainline pipeline network, as it proposes to shift away from a monthly allocation system.
A Reuters dispatch to The Globe reports that the minimum term Enbridge is seeking, previously unreported, is raising fears among small producers that they will lose out to bigger players.
Three sources confirmed the minimum term. Enbridge has previously disclosed that the maximum term is 20 years under a plan that still requires approval from Canada's National Energy Board.
Enbridge is mum on the minimum term it is seeking, saying it is commercially sensitive information.
Locking shippers into long-term contracts offers Enbridge a chance to capitalize on delays to competitors' plans to build pipelines and secure future cash flow at a time when anxiety about market access is dominating headlines. The Alberta government took the rare step in January of ordering oil production cuts to boost prices.
A shortage of pipeline capacity has contributed to an exodus of $20-billion in foreign capital from Alberta's oil sands since 2017.
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