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Trans Mountain alerts regulator of potential ‘catastrophic’ 2-year pipeline delay

The company building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is warning the project’s completion could be delayed by two years if the Canada Energy Regulator does not allow a previously rejected request for a pipeline variance.

Trans Mountain Corp. is nearly finished building the expansion, which will boost the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day from 300,000 bpd currently and improve access to export markets for Canadian oil companies.

But the Crown corporation has run into construction issues in B.C. and has asked the regulator to allow it to use a different diameter, wall thickness and coating for a 2.3 kilometre section of pipeline.

The regulator denied that request earlier this month.

But Trans Mountain says it now has reason to believe that proceeding with the current construction plan through complex hard rock conditions could compromise a borehole and result in the failure of drilling equipment.

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The company says if that happens, it would result in “catastrophic” delays to the project’s timeline and billions of dollars in losses for Trans Mountain.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2023.

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