Kinder Morgan hopes to start work on pipeline twinning next year

Are approval on the horizon from the federal and provincial governments?

By Cam Fortems

Kamloops This Week

Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson spoke on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at a Kamloops Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre.

With approvals on the horizon from the federal and provincial governments, Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson said Tuesday the company hopes to start construction on its expanded Trans Mountain pipeline by September of next year.

Anderson appeared at a luncheon meeting of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, outlining the project first proposed in 2010. If approved, and if it reaches its construction targets, it will be completed in 2019.

Kinder Morgan hopes to receive approval from the federal Liberal government in mid-December.

Following that, it will need an environmental certificate from the province of B.C. One of the hurdles — a so-called world-class marine-protection system — was assisted by a federal government announcement earlier this month of new a response system.

The company has signed a mutual-benefits agreement with every municipality along the line from Edmonton to Coquitlam. Notably absent is Burnaby, which is home to the terminal.

In Kamloops. that agreement will bring $700,000 in compensation.

“It doesn’t mean councils support a pipeline,” Anderson said. “They’ve come to the point of reconciliation.”

It has also signed deals with First Nations in the Kamloops region, including Tk’emlups Indian Band, Simpcw First Nation and Whispering Pines Indian Band. Those deals have become public either through the bands releasing information or through leaks. Tk’emlups is set to receive $3 million upon approval.

“These are confidential,” Anderson told reporters of agreements with First Nations. “We don’t disclose who we have agreements with. We have 40 in total and they make up the vast majority of the right-of-way.”

Anderson said the pipeline that would triple existing capacity on the Trans Mountain line is needed regardless of increased energy competition from the United States or rival pipeline Keystone XL, which may be approved by victorious Republicans in the United States.

“The recent election doesn’t change anything as far as I’m concerned with our project,” Anderson said. “It’s a solely Canadian project from Canadian source to tidewater. We’ll continue to serve Washington state refineries.”

Protests, at times violent, against the unrelated Dakota Access Pipeline are something Anderson told reporters the company cannot ignore.

“I’m just working on being prepared for whatever comes,” he said. “We’ll be prepared. We’ll be trained. Our contractors will as well . . . Hopefully, we can get through this period in a respectful way.”

The twinning is pegged at nearly $7 billion, about $1.8 billion of which will be spent in the B.C. Interior. Anderson said construction will bring millions more through trickle-down spending to support workers as they move down the line, occupy hotels and purchase food.

Its legacy will include a doubling of municipal taxes along the line, but few jobs once in operation.