Barely two months after the federal government gave Trans Mountain a second nod to proceed, the company is gearing up to restart its pipeline expansion project that will more than triple capacity of the pipeline running from the Edmonton area to port in Burnaby.

Trans Mountain is telling construction contractors to prepare for the restart of the project — and is giving them 30 days to line up equipment, employees, supplies and detailed plans for specific parts of the job.

“With the first wave of regulatory approvals complete, we are confident that we have a path forward by which the Expansion Project construction can commence,” said Ian Anderson, President and CEO of Trans Mountain Corporation in a press release.

“Construction work will soon begin in communities along the route, including along the right-of-way in Alberta between Edmonton and Edson, and in the Greater Edmonton area,” the corporation said.

The company says work is also slated to resume very soon at the pipeline terminal in Burnaby, where port facilities are being upgraded to allow for more — and larger — oil tankers.

Start dates in the remaining construction areas will be set once final regulatory approvals and permits are in place.

Trans Mountain expects to receive those additional approvals and permits “over the coming months” and, provided that happens, says the expanded pipeline will be in service by mid-2022.

It predicts 4,200 workers will be employed along the corridor by late 2019.

“Over the coming months, we will continue our engagement with Indigenous communities along the construction corridor,” said Anderson.

“We are committed to ensuring the Project incorporates all appropriate measures to protect the cultural, environmental and local Indigenous interests in the lands and waters through construction and into operation.”

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who represents the riding of Edmonton Mill Woods, held a press conference in Sherwood Park, Alta., where he praised the Crown corporation’s announcement on Wednesday.

Sohi called it a “greenlight to proceed” with the physical work of the Trans Mountain expansion, after the Liberal cabinet approved the project and the National Energy Board issued a certificate in June.

“We’ve very happy that people will be actually in the field, digging the ground and installing the pipe,” Sohi said.

“It’s a very exciting time for Alberta. It’s a very exciting time for Canada. This is a project that is in the national interest.”

Conservatives, meanwhile, criticized the timing of the announcement and the Liberal government’s broader policy on pipelines.

“Weeks before the federal election, the natural resources minister has finally confirmed some timelines for the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” Edmonton Riverbend MP Matt Jeneroux said in an emailed statement.

“This is after four years in which the minister and his government actively worked to destroy our energy sector by cancelling projects like Northern Gateway and Energy East and passing legislation like the no-more-pipelines Bill C-69.”

 

With files from Canadian Press and CBC