Trans Mountain: relaunch of controversial pipeline works

Trans Mountain, nationalized by the Canadian government, announced Wednesday the relaunch of the expansion of its controversial oil pipeline between the Pacific coast and the Alberta oil fields, hoping to have tripled its capacity by mid-2022.

“Trans Mountain has issued start-up notice directives to some of its major construction contractors” and “construction will soon begin in communities along the route,” said a news release.

In particular, “this notably results in an immediate return to work at the Burnaby terminal and on land at the Westridge marine terminal”, in the suburbs of Vancouver, it is specified.

These works are expected to triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline, to flow 890,000 barrels of oil per day over 1,150 km between Alberta, a province located on the third world reserve of black gold, and the suburbs of Vancouver, before exporting it to Asia.

If the missing work permits on certain segments “are granted as planned, the Trans Mountain expansion project will become operational by mid-2022,” said the pipeline operator.

Justin Trudeau’s government authorized in 2016 the American company Kinder Morgan to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline, before completely nationalizing the project two years later in the face of the uncertainty hovering over its realization.

The expansion of this pipeline, which crosses the Rocky Mountains, is met with resistance from the province of British Columbia, from where this oil should be loaded onto ships. She took the case to court, supported by a coalition of environmentalists and indigenous communities.

A year ago, the justice system had ruled in opposition, notably by ruling that the environmental consequences of the expansion had not been taken into account.

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Faced with delays in this project described as “national interest” by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ottawa nationalized this pipeline last year for CAD 4.4 billion.

This unprecedented decision had sparked the anger of the conservative opposition, a fierce defender of the petroleum industry, who saw it as a budgetary mismanagement, but also of environmentalists, deeming this measure contrary to the Paris Climate Agreement, including Canada. is a signatory.

This issue should be the subject of heated debates between the Liberals, the Conservatives and the Greens during the next legislative campaign.

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