The TMX Pipeline is as hot of a topic as there is in Canada. Polls show a majority of British Columbians, Albertans and Canadians support the project, but opposition groups have been successful in delaying its construction time and time again.
So, what is the TMX Pipeline all about anyway? Here are five main things you need to know about the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in Canada.
#1 - What the TMX Pipeline Expansion Is
The TMX is a major energy infrastructure project in Canada that will expand an already existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline which transports oil from Alberta’s oil sands to a terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
The project, pegged at a total cost of $7.4 billion, was first proposed in 2012 and will triple the existing pipeline’s capacity. The expansion will add more capacity so that diluted bitumen can be loaded onto tankers for export to Asian markets where it is in high demand.
The existing TMX pipeline pumps about 300,000 barrels of oil a day in a “batching” process which includes crude oil, semi-refined and refined products. This process sends one product followed by another through the pipeline at given time intervals.
Trans Mountain is the only pipeline on the continent that pumps batches of crude and refined oils at the same time.
Examples of oil within the TMX pipeline:
> Unrefined light crude oil from conventional sources (not oil sands)
> Unrefined heavy crude oil mixed with diluent (diluted bitumen) from the oil sands
> Semi-refined synthetic crude oil used by refineries in Washington State and B.C. for further refinement
> Refined petroleum in the form of gasoline or diesel fuel
#2 – TMX is an expansion project for an existing pipeline
The idea of a pipeline that could serve as a key transportation link between Alberta’s abundant oil reserves and the west coast of North America began in 1951, with the establishment of Trans Mountain.
The first shipment of oil reached the Burnaby Terminal in late 1953, ushering in a new era of economic opportunity and growth for the region.
Important moments in the history of the Trans Mountain pipeline:
1955 – first oil tanker docks at the Westridge Marine Terminal
1956 – pipeline through Puget sound is put into service to deliver oil to Washington State
1957 – capacity rises to 250,000 barrels
1990 – a state-of-the-art leak detection system is developed, making it one of the most advanced computerized systems of its kind in the world
2008 – Anchor Loop project expands capacity to 300,000 barrels
2010 – Kinder Morgan Canada received the Emerald Award for its environmental stewardship and sustainability during the Anchor Loop expansion
2012 – Kinder Morgan Canada announces the expansion project
2013 – committed customers sign new long-term agreements with Kinder Morgan Canada
2013 – the National Energy Board (NEB) approves the Toll Application for the proposed expansion
2016 – the NEB concludes the TMX Pipeline is in the national interest, approving the project with 156 conditions it must meet for the project to go ahead
2018 – construction on the TMX Pipeline is halted after the Federal Court of Appeal overturns government approval - a ruling won by pipeline opponents
2018 – the TMX Pipeline is approved for a second time by the NEB, citing it is still in the national interest
2019 – the TMX Pipeline is approved for a second time by the Government of Canada with 156 conditions and over a dozen additional measures it must meet for it to go ahead
Today, the Trans Mountain pipeline has operated safely and without marine incident since 1953, over 66 years and still going strong due to improved environmental protections, pipeline technology, logistics and monitoring systems.
#3 – The TMX Pipeline has been approved twice
The TMX Pipeline has now been approved twice by the Government of Canada. After being approved in 2016 with 157 conditions, it was met with a flurry of opposition by various groups in Canada, more specifically in British Columbia.
In 2018, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the government’s approval of the pipeline, declaring inadequate consultations with First Nations.
Another reason was that additional tanker traffic spurred by a TMX Pipeline (from one a week to seven or more) and its affect on the Southern Resident Killer Whale population was not taken into consideration by the NEB.
#4 - The TMX Pipeline was bought by the Canadian Government
After lengthy delays with no end in sight, U.S.-based Kinder Morgan, the original pipeline owner decided to walk away from the expansion all together.
They sold the TMX pipeline expansion and its associated components for $4.5 billion in a transaction that saw the project saved from outright cancellation like what happened to the Energy East Pipeline back in 2016.
According to sources, it will take another several billion to complete the pipeline.
#5 - A Majority of Canadians Support the TMX Pipeline
An Ipsos poll in June 2019 shows a majority of British Columbians – at 60 per cent - support the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
According to the results, support for the TMX Pipeline is spread almost evenly throughout various regions of British Columbia:
> Metro Vancouver – 59 per cent in favour
> Vancouver Island – 60 per cent in favour
> Interior / North B.C. – 63 per cent in favour
A previous Ipsos poll done in May of 2018 showed a majority of Canadians supported the TMX Pipeline – at 56 per cent. That same poll showed that 55 per cent of British Columbians support the project at the time, up by 5 per cent in June 2019.
Time to Build TMX
According to polls, a majority of Canadians are in favour of the TMX Pipeline. After several years of review, delay, court challenges and re-approvals, it’s time we get this pipeline built!
One of the ways you can help get the TMX built is by joining us on social media and supporting our cause. We hold various rallies every month across the country supporting Canada’s natural resources and the economic prosperity that’s intertwined with the success of this sector.
- Learn more about benefits of the TMX Pipeline
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