After years of delays and difficulties, the president and CEO of Trans Mountain says pipe for the expansion of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby oil pipeline will be in the ground before Christmas.
Ian Anderson made the announcement Tuesday afternoon west of Edmonton.
“When you start putting large sections of steel on the ground in a Prairie environment, people notice,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he’s “A little greyer” than he was 10 years ago when planning began for the expansion project, but he’s still proud to oversee the official launch of Alberta construction.
Anderson 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.
Thus far, more than 2,200 workers have been hired and Trans Mountain Corp. said it has focused on hiring Indigenous and local workers.
B.C. Premier John Horgan was asked Tuesday about his government’s role in court cases around the expansion following a speech to the Assembly of First Nations.
Horgan said his government is not planning on joining any of the current legal cases launched by First Nations against the re-approved Trans Mountain pipeline project.
The B.C. government had been involved in the court case that ultimately led to the project needing re-approval because of a defeat in federal court.
The one legal challenge B.C. is involved in is the reference case to test the issue of public interest and the effects of projects on B.C.’s coast. Horgan said his government is scheduled to appear in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in January and February to argue the reference case.
“We believe that our participation in the litigation has run its course, save and except our reference case which is not about Trans Mountain. It’s about how we protect the interest of all British Columbians,” Horgan said.
“Those that believe it’s just about Trans Mountain are missing the point. We believe British Columbia and other provinces have the right to put in place regulations to protect their communities, their people and their lands.”
In May, the five-member B.C. Supreme Court panel of judges unanimously ruled against B.C. on the reference, finding that pipelines fall under federal jurisdiction.
In the B.C. Supreme Court’s decision, Justice Mary Newbury wrote that B.C.’s proposed environmental regulations would have improperly restricted the flow of oil through a federal undertaking, and that it appeared to unfairly target the Trans Mountain expansion project.
With files from Karen Bartko and Richard Zussman, Global News.