Canadian company seeks to ship oil sands crude through trans-Alaska pipeline

Trans-Alaska Pipeline System 2005
The trans-Alaska pipeline on Aug. 6, 2005. (Creative Commons photo by Luca Galuzzi)

A Canadian company is looking into the feasibility of building a railroad to Alaska to link with the trans-Alaska pipeline. The rail line would ferry Canadian oil sands to markets in Asia. The company has been pursuing the project for years.

Matt Vickers admits he’s touted the idea of shipping oil sands from Alberta to Alaska by rail for a long time.

Vickers is CEO of G Seven Generations, Ltd., a Canadian company. He hopes to load more than a million barrels a day from Fort McMurray, Alberta onto a specially built rail line to Delta Junction. From there it would be treated to enter the trans-Alaska pipeline to Valdez.

Vickers said the $35 million project got new life when the Alberta government funded a preliminary study for almost $2 million.

“A.E. Can, our engineering firm, were able to look at allowing our rail to be a class A rail along the 2,400 kilometer, or 1,600 mile, route,” Vickers said.

He said he’s spent much of the last six years getting buy-in from Canadian First Peoples and Alaska Natives impacted by the proposal.  If all goes to plan, Vickers said, crude from Canadian oil sands could be moving down to Valdez by 2020.

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