Trudeau’s Mega Oil Pipeline Startup Date Hangs on Final 1.6-Mile Leg

(Bloomberg) -- The startup date for Canada’s mega oil pipeline should be known within weeks as Trans Mountain drills through hard rock in British Columbia’s rugged Fraser Valley for the final stretch of the 715-mile conduit.

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“The next few weeks will be very important in terms of being able to enter service in the second quarter,” Trans Mountain’s Chief Financial and Strategy Officer Mark Maki said in a interview during the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference on Wednesday. “We are feeling better and better every day about the startup.”

The last 1.6-mile (2.5-kilometer) segment is being enlarged to make space for pipe with a diameter of about 2 1/2 feet. After construction and testing, the entire line will be flooded with crude oil for the first time, a crucial step in commencing service.

Partial filling has been taking place at each of the segments since last summer and roughly 2.1 million barrels will be pumped into the line once construction is complete.

Maki didn’t have a firm date on when in the second quarter the line would commence service, despite news reports citing Alberta Premier Danielle Smith saying it would happen in May.

The expansion of Trans Mountain, first devised 12 ago, is a pet project of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government bought the project from Kinder Morgan Inc. in 2018. Delays have been so chronic that Trans Mountain has been providing nearly daily updates to crude shippers planning to use the conduit.

Costs have surged six-fold to almost C$34 billion ($25 billion). Maki warned the final pricetag may vary from that estimate depending on how construction of the final stretch goes. He expects the line to be at full capacity in 2025.

Read More: China’s Sinochem Buys First Oil Cargo From Canadian Pipeline

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