Kinder Morgan Canada’s proposal to increase the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline calls for 30 oil tankers a month to load up with Alberta crude at its terminal in Burnaby, B.C., — up from about one per week.
The information is part of a formal description of the proposed $5.4-billion, 1,150-kilometre-long pipeline project the company has filed with the National Energy Board.
If approved, the pipeline would carry about 890,000 barrels of oil per day from the Edmonton area across both provinces and through parts of Metro Vancouver.
“It is a material change in terms of the number of tankers,” Carey Johanneson, a Kinder Morgan spokesman said Friday from Calgary. “It is an increase from about one a week just in general terms to about one a day.”
The Trans Mountain pipeline system was built in the early 1950s. It provides the only West Coast outlet for Canadian oil products.
Kinder Morgan’s plan calls for installing 981 kilometres of new buried pipeline alongside its existing pipeline and an expansion of the existing Westridge Marine oil terminal in Burnaby.
Key sections of the pipeline route would not follow the existing line and would run through residential areas of Metro Vancouver and Edmonton, but routes have not been finalized.
Johanneson said Kinder Morgan is hoping to build along existing transportation corridors in built-up areas to avoid disturbing neighbourhoods in both cities.
Some meetings have been held with people who live in south Edmonton. Others meetings are to be held in the next few weeks in the Vancouver area.
“In some cases the pipeline easement goes right down people’s backyards,” he said.
“(What) we are looking at (is) are there other corridors in that area that we could go into that would keep us out of neighbourhoods and put us close to roads or highways or rail lines or transmission lines.”
The company’s plan calls for installing 11 new pump stations and 21 storage tanks and facilities to help handle the almost three-fold increase in crude volumes.
Kinder Morgan says based on the level of public interest, it is asking that the proposal be subject to rigorous review under the National Energy Board and Canadian Environmental Assessment acts.
“We fully expect that there is going to be a significant round of public hearings. There will be hearings in Calgary and other parts of Alberta and B.C., Vancouver and such.”
The company says it will file its full application for the project to the NEB late this year.
There has been growing concern in B.C. about the pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic.
Aboriginal and environmental groups have decried it, and officials with the City of Vancouver want to ensure that Kinder Morgan has the liability insurance necessary to cover a potential spill after the expansion.
In July 2007, 250,000 litres of oil from the Trans Mountain line spilled in a Burnaby neighbourhood after a construction crew accidentally punctured the line.
About 70,000 litres — 450 barrels — spilled into Burrard Inlet, and the cleanup costs reached $15 million.
Kinder Morgan says it is the largest midstream and the third-largest energy company in North America. Kinder Morgan Canada operates pipeline systems and terminal facilities that includethe Trans Mountain pipeline, the Cochin pipeline, the Puget Sound and the Trans Mountain jet fuel pipelines, the Westridge Marine terminal, the Vancouver Wharves terminal and the North Forty terminal in Edmonton.