Trans Mountain Corp. last week received a ruling from the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) approving its variance request with conditions for horizontal directional drilling (HDD) involved in the Mountain 3 segment of the 590,000-b/d crude oil pipeline expansion. Mountain 3 traverses the Fraser Valley between Hope and Chilliwack, BC.
CER initially denied the Canadian government-owned company’s request to change the diameter, wall thickness, and coating of a 1.4-mile portion of the expansion's Mountain 3 segment. Trans Mountain appealed, noting that the decision could delay the project by as much as 2 years and lead to billions of dollars of additional expense (OGJ Online, Dec. 15, 2023).
In particular, Trans Mountain wanted to use a smaller diameter pipe in the section requiring HDD due to concerns that the original diameter would be prone to higher rates of water ingress than could responsibly be accommodated. CER will issue the reasons for reversing its decision at a later date.
Construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project is now more than 98% complete, with an end first-quarter 2024 in-service date targeted. The expansion will increase the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 b/d.