Trans Mountain project costs ‘reasonably and justifiably incurred:’ Crown corporation

Workers lay pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The company building the Trans Mountain pipeline has submitted evidence to support its claim that oil companies must pay more in tolls in light of the pipeline project’s mounting costs.

Trans Mountain Corp. says in a new regulatory filing that the increased costs of the pipeline expansion project were “reasonably and justifiably incurred.”

The Crown corporation has successfully applied for permission to charge oil shippers higher tolls once the pipeline expansion is operational, but only on an interim basis until the Canada Energy Regulator makes a final decision.

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Trans Mountain Corp. wants to charge oil companies a benchmark toll that is nearly twice the amount of a 2017 estimate, as it seeks to recoup some of the pipeline expansion project’s spiralling capital costs.

The pipeline project, which is more than 97 per cent complete, has gone from a 2017 construction cost estimate of $7.4 billion to a most recent estimate of $30.9 billion.

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Trans Mountain Corp. said in written evidence submitted Friday to the regulator that the project was affected by “extraordinary” factors including evolving compliance requirements, Indigenous accommodations, stakeholder engagement and compensation requirements, extreme weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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