Enbridge rations pipeline space, adding to oil headwinds

Enbridge Inc. is rationing space on its key Canada line, adding yet another headwind for oil producers. 

Enbridge will apportion space on the heavy oil segment of its Mainline system – known as Line 4/67/93 and running from Alberta to Wisconsin – by the most since November last year. Apportionment is when shippers reduce volume when they see too much demand on a system and has contributed to a glut of supply in the past as producers are left with the excess. 

Pipeline apportionment has previously led to large discounts for Canada’s crude oil and now threatens already-weak oil prices. The discount for Canadian heavy crude is almost $30 in Alberta, close to the widest since 2018, amid releases of high-sulfur oil from US strategic petroleum reserves and high natural gas prices making Canadian oil expensive to refine.

The rise in apportionment signals that export lines may be filling up again amid record oil production in the province and rising demand for Canadian crude on the US Gulf Coast.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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