The Canada Energy Regulator’s (CER) Commission has approved Trans Mountain pipeline’s application for a route deviation of its Trans Mountain expansion project (TMEP) in the Pípsell (Jacko Lake) area near Kamloops, BC. The decision averted a potential months-long delay in completing the project, owned by the Canadian government which is targeting a first-quarter 2024 start of operations.
Trans Mountain Corp. last month applied to revise the route and method of construction for a 1.3-km section of the crude pipeline, indicating that it had encountered technical problems while attempting to complete micro-tunnelling along the previously approved route. In response to these issues, Trans Mountain proposed a combined approach of horizontal directional drilling and conventional open trenching along the revised route.
Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation responded to the application, as the area holds “profound spiritual and cultural significance to the Nation and Peoples,” CER said. An oral hearing was held Sept. 18-20 in Calgary to hear submissions from both parties.
TMEP will increase the 615-mile pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 b/d from 300,000 b/d (OGJ Online, Mar. 13, 2023).
CER’s Commission will release its reasons for the decision in the coming weeks. The body occasionally issues an expedited decision with reasons to follow in order to accommodate the need for a timely verdict. It is responsible for adjudicative decisions, operating as a quasi-judicial body that is arm’s length from other parts of the CER governance structure and the federal government, according to CER.