Kinder Morgan applies to nearly triple capacity for western Canadian pipeline

Westridge Marine Terminal

Westridge Marine Terminal, Burnaby, BC | Creative Commons image by D70

Midstream company Kinder Morgan Canada has applied to nearly triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline which flows from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia.

The filing, which the company submitted to the National Energy Board (NEB) on Monday, will trigger a public regulatory review process.

If the proposal is approved, the expansion should be operational by late 2017.

According to the Globe and Mail, Kinder's filing with the NEB contains 15,000 pages in 37 binders that stack up to more than two meters high.

“For the past 18 months we have engaged extensively with landowners, Aboriginal groups, communities and stakeholders along the entire proposed expansion route, and marine communities, and have carefully considered the input received during this period of study and dialogue,” President of Kinder Morgan Canada Ian Anderson said in a statement. “Our engagement efforts will continue beyond this filing leading up to the NEB hearing as we consider further input that is critical to our planning on this project.”

Kinder Morgan, Trans Mountain expansion plan

Kinder Morgan, Trans Mountain expansion plan | Map from Kinder Morgan website

Kinder Morgan has been operating the 1,150km-long Trans Mountain pipeline since 2005. The nearly 60-year-old line carries oil from Edmonton to Vancouver at a rate of 300,000 barrels per day.

The line provides the interior and southern coasts of British Columbia with 90% of its gas and is the only west coast pipeline for Canadian oil products. The expansion project would allow Canada to sell more crude to American and Asian markets.

Motivated by strong support from its customers, in 2012 Kinder Morgan put forward plans to increase the capacity to 890,000 barrels per day. In January the firm signed 13 new long-term contracts with customers, according to Kinder Morgan's website. 

The $5.4 billion plan is to twin nearly the entire existing pipeline, adding 981km of new line. The project would also include the expansion of the Westridge Marine Terminal where five oil tankers sail to each month. This figure would increase to 34, according to the Globe and Mail.