Pipelines currently making their way into news headlines such as Line 5 and Keystone XL should have us all concerned about the completion of existing projects currently underway in Canada. The Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) is one of these said projects; it’s critical for our nation that we not only see it through to the finish line, but also create public awareness about its benefits by bringing TMX-related facts into the limelight for all to see.
If you don’t know already, the Trans Mountain expansion is essentially the twinning of an existing 1,150-kilometre (km) pipeline spanning across Alberta to British Columbia which will have its total capacity increased by 590,000 barrels of oil per day upon completion. The original pipeline was built in 1953 and continues to operate safely today.
What problems will the Trans Mountain expansion solve? For starters, Canada is currently the only major oil producing / exporting nations in the world without substantial pipeline capacity to tidewater. As a result, we currently sell more than 95 per cent of our crude oil to the U.S. - our sole customer - at a discount that costs our economy billions of dollars annually. The pipeline expansion has also been an economic boon for Canadian families during a time where we need it the most, and will continue to stimulate the economy for decades to come.
Here’s more facts that will help you have a better understanding of why Canada needs the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and how it will benefit not only our economy, but Indigenous communities and the global environment as well. Also see:
- Pipelines in Canada: Everything You Need to Know
- 3 Facts: Why Pipelines are Good for the Environment
- Why a Line 5 Shutdown Just Doesn't Make Sense
TMX Facts: Economy
- To-date, Trans Mountain and its associated contractors have hired approximately 10,250 people, of whom
- About 1,100 are Indigenous
- About 4,905 are residents of Alberta
- About 4,420 are residents of British Columbia
- As of January 31st, 2021, approximately 7,120 people were working on TMX
- During construction, the anticipated workforce on the TMX is projected to reach the equivalent of 15,000 jobs per year, followed by the equivalent of a further 37,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs per year of operations
- TMX will inject approximately $12.6 billion into Canada's economy through project spending
- Canadian governments will earn $46.7 billion in additional taxes and royalties over 20 years of operation
- Alberta will receive $19.4 billion
- British Columbia will receive $5.7 billion
- The rest of Canada will share $21.6 billion
- Municipal tax payments are projected to total $922 million to B.C. and $124 million to Alberta over the first 20 years of expanded pipeline operations
- Trans Mountain is projected to pay $52 million in annual property tax payments to pipeline corridor communities and land owners
- Canada will earn approximately $3.7 billion more per year by selling Canadian oil to international markets
- Canadian oil producers will see revenues increase by $73.5 billion over 20 years of operation
- To-date, Trans Mountain has donated more than $10 million to local communities along and near the pipeline expansions’ right-of-way to help fund a variety of locally determined projects
- To-date, Trans Mountain has donated $1.2 million to a handful of post-secondary institutions in B.C.
TMX Facts: Indigenous
- Of the 129 Indigenous communities potentially affected by the project, 120 either support it or do not oppose it
- As of January 31st, 2021, Trans Mountain has signed 66 agreements with 73 Indigenous Groups in Alberta and British Columbia that represent more than $550 million in benefits and opportunities for Indigenous communities
- As of December 31st, 2020, Trans Mountain and its contractors had awarded more than $1.4 billion in Indigenous contracts
- As of December 31st, 2020, more than 1,000 Indigenous Peoples had worked on the Trans Mountain expansion
- Indigenous Peoples are looking to buy an equity stake in the pipeline; a recent workshop in November hosted talks between the federal government and 120 participants representing roughly 75 Indigenous groups
TMX Facts: Environment
- The Trans Mountain pipeline has operated safely without marine incident since 1956
- Trans Mountain has committed up to $1 billion over 20 years to a newly created BC Clean Communities Program to be accessed by communities for local projects across the province
- More than 35 environmental plans were developed in order to fulfill conditions for the project created by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER)
- The Trans Mountain expansion will make use of enhanced vapour recovery technology that will capture nearly 100 per cent of vapour emissions expelled from the hull when loading tankers
- Trans Mountain facilitated more than $150 million in funding for Western Canada Marine Response Corporation
- Trans Mountain has made a $3 million commitment for multi-year programs to protect wild salmon in Canada’s waterways
TMX Facts: General
- The existing Trans Mountain pipeline moves the equivalent of about 1,400 tanker truckloads or 441 tanker railcars of oil each and every day
- The existing Trans Mountain pipeline has consistently been overbooked for the past decade, and has current contracts that will account for roughly 85 per cent of its new expanded capacity
- The project will include roughly 980 kms of new pipeline and 193 kms of reactivated pipeline
- 73 per cent of TMX’s route will use the existing right-of-way, 16 per cent will follow other infrastructure lines such as telecommunications, hydro or highways and 11 per cent will be new right-of-way
- 12 new electronically powered pumping stations will be built; some will be fuelled by B.C.’s power grid which gets more than 95 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources
- 19 new oil storage tanks will be added to existing terminals in Burnaby (14), Edmonton (4) and Sumas (1)
- 3 new berths are being constructed at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, which will allow Trans Mountain to load one tanker a day upon completion, up from roughly one a week currently
- The existing pipeline will carry synthetic crude oils, light crude oils and refined products with the capability of also carrying heavy crude oils
- The new pipeline will carry heavier oils with the capability of transporting light oils if needed
- Engagement with Indigenous communities, landowners, stakeholders and communities has been ongoing since 2012 and will continue through to operation
- The Trans Mountain has been expanded numerous times, with the first happening in 1957 while the most recent occurred between 2006 and 2008.
- TMX’s projected in-service date: December of 2022
The World Needs More Canada
Canadians need to understand that shutting down pipelines like Keystone XL does nothing to keep one barrel of oil in the ground or help reduce global emissions. Actually, this has quite the opposite effect as global buyers are forced to source oil from much less environmentally friendly producers of whom often have abysmal records when it comes to transparency and human rights, which is then transported across vast 'GHG-emitting' distances via tanker.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global demand for heavy oil is projected to grow by 23 per cent by 2040. As one of the world’s most sustainable, transparent and environmentally conscious oil producers, Canada should be a global supplier of choice and the last one “out of the pool.”
The Trans Mountain expansion will help Canada become a key supplier of heavy oil for international markets across the Pacific and in parts of the U.S. As shown by the numbers above, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is good for Canada and the global environment - numbers don't lie.
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