Kinder Morgan explains pipeline project

Kinder Morgan is beginning a five-year process to twin its Transmountain pipeline, project manager Greg Toth told Clearwater council

Kinder Morgan representative Greg Toth speaks to Clearwater town council last Tuesday.

Kinder Morgan representative Greg Toth speaks to Clearwater town council last Tuesday.

Kinder Morgan is just beginning a five-year process to twin its Transmountain pipeline, project manager Greg Toth told District of Clearwater council last Tuesday evening.

The pre-application phase is expected to last two years but public input will be sought all through the process.

“Our company president, Ian Anderson, is committed to respective, transparent and collaborative interactions,” he said.

Routing appears to be one of the major issues and where the second pipeline will travel has yet to be determined, the Kinder Morgan spokesperson said.

“Where practical it will follow the existing pipeline,” he said, “except a lot has changed in 60 years.”

Areas that have seen extensive urban development or where environmental sensitivities have been identified will be avoided, where possible.

Brush clearing to build the original pipeline began in the spring of 1952 and oil started flowing from Edmonton to Burnaby 18 months later.

The sections from Darfield to Kamloops and from Edmonton to Hinton were twinned in 1957.

In 2008 the pipeline was twinned through Jasper and Mount Robson parks.

About 60 per cent of the route through the parks followed the existing Transmountain right-of-way. Over 39 per cent of the rest went along other existing right-of-ways, such as highways and railroads.

One section of the new route through the parks followed a disused railroad bed. Not only was it narrow but also there was already a fibreoptic line running underneath it, said Toth. Construction involved digging a short piece of trench, laying one section of pipe in it and welding it to the previous one, then digging another short piece of trench.

The twinning project would expand Transmountain’s capacity from the present 300,000 barrels per day to 850,000, he said.

Before initiating the expansion process, Kinder Morgan first obtained commitments from its customers to make use of the extra capacity.

Discussions with landowners began in Alberta two weeks ago and in B.C. last week.

Toth noted the company needs the landowners’ consent to go on private property.

Consultations with regulators, First Nations and other groups also are beginning.

In about two weeks the first field routing teams will begin their work.

According to a company handout, Kinder Morgan plans to file an application with the National Energy Board in late 2013.

If the NEB approves the application, construction could start in 2016. The proposed expanded pipeline system could be in operation by 2017.

Vavenby rancher Hugh Graffunder asked what time of year the construction might take place.

Toth said that has yet to be determined but the stretch from Clearwater to Merritt has generally lower snowfall and so might be done in winter.

 

Graffunder said that would suit him as it would mean less disruption for his hayfields.