Trans Mountain warns regulator of potential ‘catastrophic’ two-year pipeline delay

By John Ackermann, Negin Nia and The Canadian Press

Trans Mountain is warning that the completion of its pipeline expansion project could have a potential “catastrophic” two-year delay due to a federal regulator decision.

The company says the delay is possible 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.

However, the federal 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.

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.

The company says if that happens, it would result in billions of dollars in losses for Trans Mountain.

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