- Canadian energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. on July 3 filed a six-month construction schedule with the Canadian National Energy Board laying out a plan to restart construction on the Alberta-to-British Columbia, CA$7.9 billion (U.S. $6 billion) Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project next month in Alberta and in British Columbia starting in September. The company, according to Reuters, stopped all nonessential work on the project amid protests from environmentalists and jurisdictional issues around British Columbia's threats to stop the project.
- Alberta-based Midwest Pipelines is the general contractor for the more than 180-mile Alberta portion of the Trans Mountain project, and the company's work for the Aug. 2018 to Jan. 2019 phase of work there will include surveying, staking, signage, environmental protection measures and clearing of trees and vegetation. Ledcor Sicim Limited Partnership will perform similar tasks for an approximately 171-mile, two-spread portion of the pipeline project in North Thompson, British Columbia. Kiewit-Ledcor Trans Mountain Partnership will also begin additional work in July on the Lower Mainland, British Columbia section of the pipeline — developing a tunnel at one terminal and relocating existing infrastructure to accommodate the expansion of another. Kiewit-Ledcor has been working on another portion of the Lower Mainland section since September 2017.
- The Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953, and the expansion will add about 608 miles of additional pipeline to the existing 714-mile system. The project had become so bogged down that, in late May, the Canadian government purchased the pipeline and its expansion-related infrastructure from Kinder Morgan for CA$4.5 billion (U.S. $3.4 billion). Bill Morneau, PC MP, said the government preferred to take over the project rather than subsidize it in order to preserve pipeline-related jobs during the summer season, make sure the project is completed in a timely manner and to reap the economic rewards of its investment.
Gas and oil pipelines are among the most contentious types of constructions projects, and the flashpoint typically revolves around some environmental issue.
One of the most high-profile protests against a pipeline in recent history was against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline. Activists who positioned themselves near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota for almost a year starting in April 2016 alleged that a pipeline spill could endanger the reservation's water supply and negatively impact sacred sites. This caused a delay in construction, but a judge eventually cleared the way for the project to continue. The same judge later ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and developer Energy Transfer Partners to conduct an additional environmental review that addressed the consequences of a spill. The corps expects to have that review completed in August.
But not every planned pipeline project leaves the drawing board. TransCanada's Energy East pipeline would have seen oil delivered from Alberta to Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, but the company deserted the CA$15.7 billion (U.S. $12 billion) project due to the likelihood of significant pushback from activists, tighter regulations and low oil prices, according to The New York Times.