Inter Pipeline Fund (Inter Pipeline) is pleased to announce that its Polaris pipeline system has entered commercial service for the Kearl oil sands project owned by Imperial Oil Resource Ventures Limited (Imperial). With the commencement of linefill and wet commissioning activities, Inter Pipeline is now generating cash flow under a 25-year diluent transportation agreement with Imperial. Construction of a new $90 million pipeline lateral and facilities from the Polaris system to the Kearl project was completed on schedule and below budgeted cost.
Imperial has contracted for 60,000 barrels per day (b/d) of firm ship-or-pay transportation capacity on the Polaris pipeline system. Under the shipping contract, Inter Pipeline will earn approximately $36 million of EBITDA on an annual basis for the next 25 years. Cash flow is not dependent on commodity prices or throughput levels and all operating costs flow through to Imperial. The Polaris system previously formed part of Inter Pipeline's Corridor oil sands pipeline system. With the start-up of commissioning activities, approximately $100 million of capital has been removed from Corridor's rate base..
The Polaris pipeline system is currently being expanded under a $1 billion capital program to provide diluent service to the Christina Lake, Narrows Lake and Foster Creek projects owned by Cenovus and ConocoPhillips. Upon completion, capacity on the Polaris system is expected to increase from approximately 120,000 b/d to 820,000 b/d. Inter Pipeline has announced long-term shipping arrangements representing approximately 50% of total expansion capacity and is aggressively pursuing opportunities to attract new third party shippers to the system.