Canada could begin shipping crude oil through the northern Manitoba Port of Churchill as early as this fall, a senior company official said Monday.
Darcy Brede, president and chief operating officer for Omnitrax's Denver-based parent company, Omnitrax Inc., said negotiations are underway with about 25 Alberta oil companies that are interested in shipping oil through the port to refineries on either the east coast of Canada or in Europe.
But before prospective customers are willing to commit to anything long term, they want to conduct a trial run, Brede said. So if all goes well, a tanker carrying about 330,000 barrels of oil will leave the port on a test run in October.
Before that can happen, the port has to complete about $2 million in upgrades to its oil-handling system, Brede said. The upgrades, which should be completed by the end of next month, will boost the port's oil-pumping capacity to about 3,000 gallons per minute from the current 800 to 900 gallons per minute.
He said Omnitrax officials hope to know in "a month or two" if they have a deal that would allow the test run to proceed.
Brede said shipping oil through the port on a regular basis would help ensure the long-term viability of the port, which is used primarily to ship grain to export markets.The Port of Churchill sits on the Hudson Bay which opens to the Northwest Passages out to the Atlantic Ocean. [Go to Google maps; type in Port of Churchill Manitoba and then zoom way, way out.]
I would assume there is going to be more railroad track needed in Manitoba.