Officials mark start of construction on Trans Mountain pipeline after repeated delays
ACHESON, Alta.—The CEO of Trans Mountain says he’s “a little greyer” than he was 10 years ago when planning began for an expansion of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby oil pipeline but he’s still proud to oversee the official launch of Alberta construction.
Ian Anderson, who switched employers when the pipeline and its proposed expansion were sold to the federal government in 2018 for $4.5 billion, repeated a vow Dec. 3 to have expansion project pipe in the ground before Christmas.
Speaking in a frosty field west of Edmonton, he said the project has been steadily improved as it was repeatedly delayed over the years and is now set to be the “best darn pipeline in the world” with enhanced leak detection and thicker pipe in key segments.
He said the pipeline will take 30 to 36 months to build, which means it could be completed in the second half of 2022, but he declined to update the last cost estimate of $7.4 billion because the schedule is not yet confirmed.
Federal Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said the event and the opening of the Canadian part of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 export pipeline last weekend make it a “good week” for Canada.
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said it’s “crucial” the Trans Mountain project not be subject to any further delays after it had to be approved twice by the federal government because of court challenges.
The expansion will nearly triple the 300,000-barrel-a-day capacity of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries crude oil and refined products from Edmonton to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.