Trans Mountain pipeline cost hits $7.4 billion

Few oil shippers back out of commitments to use new line

File photo of twinning of a previous section of the Trans Mountain pipeline near Jasper.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a go commercially, according to Kinder Morgan officials, who say almost none of the oil shippers that previously committed to use the new line have opted to pull out or scale back.

Critics of the pipeline had questioned its economic justification, arguing that it had been proposed at a time of sharply higher oil prices, which collapsed over the past few years.

The final cost estimate of the project is $7.4 billion, according to Kinder Morgan, which recalculated the tolls it will charge shippers and gave them a chance to cover their share of development costs and withdraw from their commitments to use a combined 708,000 barrels per day, or 80 per cent of pipeline capacity, for 15 to 20 years.

RELATED: Oil pipeline construction to use cut and cover through Chilliwack residential area

Only three per cent of those commitments were turned back, representing a volume of 22,000 barrels per day that will be put out to market again. Kinder Morgan kept 20 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity in reserve to sell on the spot market.

“In spite of the many changes in the markets over the five years since our customers signed on, we knew commercial support for this project remained strong,” Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson said.

The latest jump in the project cost, from a previous $6.8-billion estimate, resulted from new requirements to use thicker pipe, extra drilled crossings in environmentally sensitive areas, and tunnel through Burnaby Mountain.

Kinder Morgan also reached a deal with the B.C. government in January to provide the province with up to $1 billion in payments over 20 years to go to an environment protection and enhancement fund.

There are 157 conditions on the project set by the National Energy Board and another 37 set by B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the project last November, calling it good for Canada and “safe for B.C.”

Various First Nations, environmental groups and municipalities plan to challenge the project in court.

The twinning of the existing 60-year-old pipeline will nearly triple Trans Mountain’s capacity, resulting in a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic through Vancouver harbour.

Anderson said the next steps for Trans Mountain include arranging financing and making a final investment decision ahead of an expected fall construction start.

In Chilliwack, the Kinder Morgan is considering digging a trench for the pipeline through backyards to avoid drilling underground through an aquifer that the local city council wants protected.

Just Posted

SUV on fire on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Emergency crews on scene and blocking the right lane

VIDEO: Abbotsford donair restaurant catches fire

Donairo’s on McCallum Street site of kitchen fire

PHOTOS: Candlelight Parade lights up downtown Mission

Thousands of people come out to enjoy holiday tradition

It’s a Wonderful Breakfast fundraiser comes to Mission

The event, on Dec. 12, is hosted by the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Strong turnout of volunteers to search for missing senior

Ted Vanderveen disappeared in rural Maple Ridge on Nov. 28

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

SkyTrain strike to begin Tuesday with ‘full shutdown’, CUPE says

BCRTC president says job action is ‘completely unacceptable’ to use SkyTrain users ‘as leverage’

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Owners of hotels on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside fight $1 expropriation in court

Vancouver City Council voted to expropriate the properties for $1 each in November

Most Read