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Line fill is set to commence some time in the next quarter, with the process expected to take between six and seven weeks, Trans Mountain said on Friday.
Line fill will require 4.5 million barrels of crude oil and is the last step before crude deliveries from the pipeline can begin.
“We expect commercial operations to commence near the end of Q1 2024,” Trans Moutain said in a Friday statement. The timeline was disclosed following the company’s victory in a dispute with the Stk’emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation First Nation over Trans Mountain’s request to reroute its pipeline through a 0.8-mile segment of the indigenous group’s territory. In that case, the Canadian regulator CER sided with the pipeline, clearing the way for a new route, and avoiding months of possible delays should the route change not receive approval.
The $22.6 billion Trans Mountain expansion project will triple the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.
Originally, the pipeline expansion was set to help Canada export its heavy crude oil to Asia via tankers from the Canadian West Coast. But as the expansion project took years to clear permitting, financial, and construction hurdles, the global crude oil flows changed with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Fierce opposition towards the project in British Columbia also led to a change of ownership as it forced Kinder Morgan to reconsider its commitment to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would increase the daily capacity of the pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day from 300,000 bpd. So the government of Canada reached an agreement with the company back in 2018 to buy the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and related pipeline and terminal assets.
Now, 130 different indigenous groups have expressed interest in purchasing a partial stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.
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.