Trans Mountain has officially broken ground on the CAD7.4bn ($5.61bn) Trans Mountain expansion project near Edmonton in the Canadian province Alberta.

The pipeline expansion project will see the twinning of the 1,150km-long existing Trans Mountain Pipeline, which was laid between Strathcona County near Edmonton and Burnaby in British Columbia.

The official start of the pipeline construction was held at Greater Edmonton for the nearly 50km stretch of Spread 1 of the project, which will be laid between the Edmonton Terminal in Sherwood Park and Acheson, Alberta.

Trans Mountain president and CEO Ian Anderson said: “Getting shovels in the ground in Alberta and kicking off pipeline construction is a pivotal moment for Trans Mountain.

“We are proud of the Project we have designed and the innovative measures we are implementing that demonstrate the kind of rigour and detail that will go into every stage of this Project to mitigate risks, respect the rights of those directly affected and operate safely.”

Trans Mountain expects to have the expansion project pipe in the ground before this Christmas.

In this regard, SA Energy Group, the general pipeline construction contractor of Spread 1, has started pipe transport, stringing, and other preparation work that are required prior to installation of the pipeline.

Work related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project is also being carried out at the Westridge Marine Terminal, Burnaby Terminal and at pump stations in Alberta.

According to Trans Mountain, the work includes site preparation activities, foreshore extension work, in-water construction of new shipping berths, and facility upgrades.

For the Spread 2 of the pipeline expansion project, construction is likely to commence shortly at the Yellowhead County with crews wrapping up pre-construction activities and environmental surveys in the area, said the company.

Background of the Trans Mountain expansion project

The Trans Mountain expansion project is being taken up to increase the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day. However, the project had faced several delays due to resistance from various environmental groups.

In June 2019, the Canadian government approved the project, while saying that it was in national interest to move ahead with it. The previous year, the federal government announced its decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and the associated expansion project for CAD4.5bn ($3.41bn) from Kinder Morgan Canada.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said: “When operational, this pipeline will result in billions of revenues, and construction activites will spur thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadians across the country.

“That’s why it’s crucial the project not be subject to any further delays between now and completion. And while completion is the one true measure of success, it’s important to acknowledge milestones – like this – along the way.”