Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

« Every day counts », Trans Mountain pleads before the Canadian Energy Regulator

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Geological conditions on a stretch in British Columbia complicate the completion of the Trans Mountain project.

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During a hearing on Friday , Trans Mountain representatives asked the Canada Energy Regulator to approve a hardware modification to avoid a two-year delay in bringing the pipeline into service.

[The amendment] is vital so that Trans Mountain can finish the project without the danger of years of delay and billions of dollars in economic impact, Trans Mountain lawyer Sander Duncanson told the Authority's three commissioners who chaired the hearing.

Crown corporation asks to be able to use a smaller pipe than planned on a section in the Fraser Valley, Colombia -British.

She claims that the hardness of the ground and water infiltration in the area make horizontal drilling according to the initial plan impossible. Few alternatives are possible due to the location of the route between the Fraser River, the Trans-Canada Highway and the railway line, according to Trans Mountain.

The Crown corporation estimates that another horizontal borehole or tunnel could encounter similar construction problems and would delay the project by approximately two years.

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Each day of delay in this installation will delay the commissioning of the project. Each week of delay will cost Trans Mountain $50 million, the lawyer said.

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Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project route

The latest cost estimate for the expansion project, from March 2023, was nearly of $31 billion.

Therefore, as the Commission deliberates on this request and considers conditions to be imposed, it must be aware that every day counts now.

Trans Mountain says that, if approved, the pipeline could be placed immediately and allow the pipeline to be in service by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

The Canada Energy Regulator has already rejected a first modification request from Trans Mountain in the fall. In her decision, she expressed concern about the quality management program of the Crown Corporation.

At the hearing Friday, commissioners again asked questions about this management program and how Trans Mountain was complying with it.

With all the work of the last 10 years on the project, all the contingency plans to adapt to all scenarios […] How did we get here today with, once again, a new request for modification?, also asked Commissioner Trena Grimoldby.

Trans Mountain's lawyer argued that the length of the pipeline and the complexity of the project did not allow us to consider all the geological difficulties linked to this section.

I am cautiously optimistic that this is our last [problem], he replied.

The three commissioners reserved their decision until a later date.

The Trans Mountain expansion project involves tripling the capacity to transport oil between the Alberta and the Pacific Coast, particularly for export to Asia.

The government of Justin Trudeau purchased it in 2018 for 4.4 billion Canadian dollars to ensure construction continues.

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