Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion May Start in September

The construction on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project could begin in September, Trans Mountain Chief Executive Ian Anderson said on Wednesday. The project was stalled a year ago after a Canadian court ruled that the federal government, which owns the pipeline, failed to adequately consult indigenous groups.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday re-approved the $5.56 billion expansion project which could ease the congestion on pipelines and will link Alberta’s oil sands to a port near Vancouver, British Columbia.

“If things go according to plan, I can see shovels in the ground as early as September,” said Trans Mountain Chief Executive Ian Anderson on a conference call. “... Getting started is the most critical thing.” He added that the construction could take 30 to 34 months and oil could flow through the twinned pipeline by the second or third quarter of 2022, assuming the next regulatory steps go smoothly.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that the effort to obtain building permits started on Wednesday. Although supporters say it is an important step to help Canadian oil reach higher-priced international markets, opponents including environmental, indigenous groups and some municipalities, argue the risk of a spill.