Kinder Morgan goes ahead with its $5 billion pipeline expansion to Vancouver

Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMP) is going ahead with its planned $5 billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada, which brings crude oil from the Alberta oil sands to Vancouver’s port.

The company said that it expects to nearly triple the capacity of the 1,150-kilometre pipeline, going from the current capacity of 300,000 barrels per day to 850,000 barrels per day.

Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, said the plan is to also expand the Westridge Marine Terminal in Vancouver to allow larger tanker ships to transport the oil to Asia.

The announced extension of Trans Mountain, built in 1953 to bring oil to southwestern B.C., is expected to fire up reactions. This because the Texas-based energy company will construct as much new capacity as Enbridge Inc. has proposed for the Northern Gateway pipeline, said Wilderness Committee campaigner, Ben West.

“This new, super-sized proposal is simply outrageous,” he added. “A bigger pipeline means bigger opposition.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been saying lately the country needs to find new ways to get Alberta’s crude to buyers other than the United States.

Local oil producers, on the other hand, are urging authorities to develop a line to let them tap high-paying Asian markets and U.S. refineries in the West Coast.