The Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project has received permission to resume work on an 800-meter section, following a temporary halt ordered by federal regulators earlier this month. Despite this setback, Trans Mountain Corp. assures that the manual completion of the project is still on track for this year, with expectations for the pipeline to become operational in the first quarter of 2024.
The Canada Energy Regulator had instructed pipeline builders to cease work in a wetlands area near Abbotsford, British Columbia, due to concerns related to environmental and safety procedures. Inadequate fencing to protect amphibians and unapproved vegetation clearing were among the issues identified during the inspection conducted by the federal agency.
Trans Mountain Corp. has addressed all non-compliances in the region and is now conducting safety inspections across all active construction sites to ensure that similar issues do not occur again in the future.
At the time of the pause, the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project was reported to be approximately 95% complete. This expansion aims to increase the pipeline’s capacity by 300,000 barrels per day (b/d), raising it to a total of 890,000 b/d. Additionally, the project will facilitate access to ocean terminals for Canadian oil exports to overseas markets.
Experts predict that the project’s impact on oil markets may be felt towards the end of 2023. Startup preparations will include line fill requirements of about 50,000 b/d of heavy sour, according to the International Energy Agency.
*Reporting by Steve Cronin; Editing by Michael Kelly