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Transmountain Pipeline Expansion Project a Success? – FCPP

June 4, 2024

The Transmountain Mountain Pipeline expansion project (TMEP) was completed on May 01, 2024. Its startup the following month ended an eleven-year saga of tectonic federal energy policy initiatives, climate change requirements, federal regulatory restructuring, and indigenous reconciliation. That it was finished at all is a triumph, but there was muted celebration.

The original proponent for TMEP was Kinder Morgan (KM), who filed its application with the federal energy regulator in 2013. The expansion would be constructed in the existing right of way of the existing pipeline and increase capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil and refined products to 890,000 barrels of oil per day. This included expansion of the existing dock and loading facilities. Protests began virtually the next day. The cost estimate at that time was $7.4 billion for the 1,150 km pipeline and related facilities. The federal regulator and the federal government approved the project in 2016.

Between 2016 and 2018, the intensity of the protests against TMEP and a new government formed in British Columbia that vowed it would use any means possible to make sure TMX would not be built created significant hurdles. KM warned that the protest’s impact and B.C.’s regulatory and legal challenges were creating significant uncertainty, and the project would be delayed at least a year, stopping all non-essential spending. Ultimately KM decided it would not continue with the project because of the increased execution risk and cost to complete the project that the legal and regulatory challenges, and increasing protests, posed.

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