Canada’s Stalled Oil Pipeline Set for First Crude Deliveries

TMX Project Will Allow Country to Sell More Crude to US West Coast
Trans Mountain Pipeline construction
Construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project at the Burnaby Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. (Paige Taylor White/Bloomberg News)

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Canada’s biggest new oil pipeline in more than a decade will begin filling with crude within weeks, according to MEG Energy Corp.

The government-owned Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline that connects the oil fields of Alberta to the Pacific Coast is seeking 2.1 million barrels for April and an equal amount a month later, MEG CEO Derek Evans said during a conference call March 1.

Those barrels will be used as so-called line fill, which is the oil initially pumped into a conduit to bring it up to pressure so shipments can begin to flow. An email seeking comment from Trans Mountain wasn’t immediately returned.

TMX, as the project is known, will nearly triple the capacity of the sole Alberta-to-the-coast pipeline system of 890,000 barrels a day, allowing Canadian companies to sell more crude to Asia and the U.S. West Coast.


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Heavy Western Canadian Select’s discount to West Texas Intermediate crude has been narrowing ahead of the startup, shrinking 75 cents to $16 a barrel on March 1, according to a person familiar with the price.

TMX’s initial 2017 startup target faced repeated delays, cost overruns, construction mishaps and regulatory hurdles. The C$34 billion ($25 billion) project cost is more than six times the original estimate.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bought Trans Mountain in 2018 from Kinder Morgan Inc. to save the project from cancellation.

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