Construction ramping up on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project
Published Wednesday, August 21, 2019 8:35AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 21, 2019 6:53PM MDT
Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will further begin ramping up after 'Notice to Proceed' directives were issued, company officials said Wednesday.
That means contractors will have 30 days to mobilize equipment and start the process of hiring workers, procuring goods and services and developing detailed construction work plans for expansion of the 1,150-km pipeline running from northern Alberta to the B.C. coast.
Work is expected to begin “soon” in communities along the right of way between Edmonton and Edson, including the greater Edmonton area, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said at a press conference in Sherwood Park. Work is also expected to begin at the Burnaby Terminal and on land at Westridge Marine Terminal in B.C.
Specific start dates in the remaining construction areas are subject to final regulatory approvals and permits.
“With the first wave of regulatory approvals complete, we are confident that we have a path forward by which the expansion project construction can commence,” Ian Anderson, president and CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC), said in a release.
Some introductory work on the project began moving ahead earlier this month after TMC was given permission to build some temporary sites along the route.
TMC says sites in B.C., including Kamloops, Merritt, Hope and Abbotsford, will be stockpiles for pipe and other materials needed for construction.
Back in June, the company told the National Energy Board that it needed to begin construction by the first week of August to avoid further delays by missing the current season.
“Trans Mountain remains committed to prioritizing and maximizing Indigenous, local and regional hiring to the greatest extent possible,” the company said in a release.
“Hiring by prime contractors is underway, with approximately 4,200 workers expected to be employed in various communities along the corridor in the fourth quarter of 2019.”
The company expects construction to be complete by 2022 if necessary federal regulatory approvals are received.
In a statement, Premier Jason Kenney said while the 'Notice to Proceed' is a step forward, but “there is still not reason to celebrate."
“The series of delays and the existing uncertainty around this vital project continue to present serious challenges,” he said.
“As Trans Mountain begins to prepare for its construction restart, the federal and local authorities must ensure the rule of law is enforced and that construction is not illegally blocked.
"History has shown us that there are a small minority of individuals who are willing to break the law to prevent responsible resource development in Canada, and they must not be allowed to essentially veto a project that is vitally important, not only to Alberta, but to all of Canada.”
Conservative MP Matt Jenertoux also issued a statement, accusing Sohi of politicizing the announcement, "weeks before the federal election."
"This is after four years in which the minister and his government actively worked to destroy our energy sector by cancelling projects like Northern Gateway and Energy East and passing legislation like the no-more-pipelines Bill C-69," he said.
On Tuesday, the province’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage blamed a lack of pipeline capacity for extending the curtailment of oil production until December 2020.
Savage announced that the base limit for curtailment will increase from 10,000 barrels per day to 20,000 barrels per day this fall. The move will reduce the number of producers impacted by the curtailment from 29 to 16.
The previous NDP Government instituted the curtailment in January of this year to relieve Alberta's surplus oil reserves.