Pipeline expansion could pump up local economy

expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline could create up to 900 jobs in the Kamloops area

Kinder Morgan

Kinder Morgan

By: Andrea Klassen

Kamloops This Week

An expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline could create up to 900 jobs in the Kamloops area in the summers of 2016 and 2017, according to Kinder Morgan’s president, Ian Anderson.

Anderson, who is travelling across B.C. speaking about the economic benefits of his company’s $5.4-billion pipeline twinning plan, told members of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Nov. 8 the project will bring major dollars to the city.

The expansion project, if it’s granted federal approval, would add a second pipe to much of the existing Trans Mountain line between the Alberta oil fields and Burnaby.

The extra line would nearly triple the number of barrels of gas, diesel and heavier oil products run through the pipeline daily, from about 300,000 to 890,000.

Kinder Morgan plans to submit an application for review to the National Energy Board in December.

If it’s successful, Anderson said construction on the new line could begin in 2016.

Kinder Morgan seeks expansion go-ahead

The company plans to use Kamloops as a construction hub for the interior portion of the project, Anderson said, and the area is also home to three pump stations needed for the expanded line — each of which costs about $30 million to build.

While most of the jobs in the area would last no more than the two-year length of the construction phase, with peak employment each summer, Anderson said about one-quarter of the 50 permanent jobs created by the expansion would likely come to Kamloops.

During the construction phase, Anderson said Kinder Morgan will spend approximately $43 million on workers in the Kamloops area.

Based on the company’s experiences in the Jasper and Valemount area, where it upgraded the line in 2008, Anderson said that could translate into about $16 million more spent on rent in the city and another $9 million on meals.

But, he said, the city’s existing workforce can’t support the pipeline’s demands.

While the company is in talks with Thompson Rivers University to expand its trade programs, Anderson said as much as $39 million of Kinder Morgan’s local labour budget will have to go to people who don’t live in the city now.

Local workers will still play an important role in the project, he said, because other pipeline construction projects, such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway line or the Keystone XL, will be competing for the same pool of outside labour.

“The competition for labour over the next five years is going to be intense,” Anderson said.

“So, we’ve got to be the best at harvesting and interesting and getting the local labour forces marshalled around us.”

Construction costs are also expected to be substantial, including around $5 million for gravel and sand and $600,000 just for road signs cautioning drivers about the project. Anderson said the company is committed to sourcing locally, as well as working with First Nations companies whenever possible.

Long term, Anderson said the project will bring in more than a million dollar of extra property taxes for the city of Kamloops.

Once Kinder Morgan files an application for review on its expansion, the National Energy Board is expected to take 15 to 18 months to make a decision on the project.

Anderson said he expects to know if the company is successful by the second quarter of 2015.