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The Trans Mountain oil pipeline is nearly finished and will be “complete in the coming months,” Canadian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson told Bloomberg on Friday.
“I don’t have a specific date in front of me in terms of when the corporation expects to complete it, but the project is over 90 per cent complete,” Wilkinson shared, adding that he certainly expects it to come online “over the course of the 2024 period.”
Wilkinson pointed to various delays that have plagued the expansion project, the costs of which have ballooned to an estimated $30 billion.
The pipeline is once again moving ahead after securing a legal victory after being challenged in court by the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation First Nation over the pipeline’s newly proposed route that would go through a 0.8-mile segment of the indigenous group’s territory. Canada’s regulator CER sided with the pipeline, thus preventing even more delays.
Once complete and flowing oil, the newly expanded pipeline will be able to carry an additional 890,000 barrels per day of crude oil. The project has been fraught with legal challenges and opposition from climate and indigenous groups, causing the federal government to purchase the project to ensure it would move forward.
And while controversy surrounding the pipeline remains, over 130 indigenous groups have expressed interest in purchasing a partial stake in the pipeline. Still, Canada could have a tough road ahead in recouping the $26 billion in taxpayer money that it paid for it, with uncertainty surrounding potential buyers—many of whom may shy away from any fossil fuel asset--and shifting trade routes for oil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions.
Canada is hoping to complete the sale of the pipeline in 2025.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.