Does TMX nod mean go?

Barring any regulatory delays or court injunctions, construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project will begin later this summer or in early fall, with commissioning expected for the second or third quarter of 2022.

That is the hope of Ian Anderson, CEO of Trans Mountain Corp., which is now owned by Canadians.

Work will also resume on a $150 million expansion of the Western Canada Marine Response Corp.’s fleet of vessels and marine stations. Work was halted on both expansion projects nearly a year ago, when the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the original approval of the pipeline twinning project.

After addressing concerns raised by the court, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week again approved the project.

Before shovels are in the ground, Trans Mountain will need to get a National Energy Board certificate to proceed. Provincial and municipal permits – some of which would have expired – will also need to be issued or reissued.

In addition, Trans Mountain might have to alter the route for the section of pipeline that passes through the Coldwater Indian Band’s reserve.

Work in B.C. will restart first at Burnaby’s Westridge Marine Terminal. New construction on the 1,150-kilometre pipeline, which is broken down into seven “spreads,” will break ground in B.C. in the North Thompson region north of Kamloops.

Up to 6,000 workers will be needed at peak construction, and the project will be competing for workers with the $40 billion LNG Canada project, which will need up to 10,000 workers at peak construction.

Anderson confirmed that the project will likely exceed the last capital expenditure estimate of $7.4 billion, but could not say if it will come closer to the $9.3 billion that the parliamentary budget officer estimated in January.

“Once there’s more certainty on that regulatory process, and we know when we can get back to work, we’ll be in a better position to provide an update on both the specific schedule and project costs,” Anderson said. “As you can appreciate, those two are connected.”

Any delays will add to the pipeline’s costs, which will now be borne by Canadian taxpayers.

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