The Expansion Project came about in response to requests from oil shippers to help them reach new markets by expanding the capacity of North America’s only pipeline with access to the West Coast. With oil sands production expanding in Alberta in the years ahead, new markets and new opportunities are emerging. 

As a result, in May 2012, Kinder Morgan Canada announced the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Four years later, in May 2016, following a review process the National Energy Board (NEB) concluded the Project is in the Canadian public interest and recommended the Federal Governor in Council approve the expansion, subject to 157 conditions. Taking this recommendation into consideration, the Government of Canada granted approval for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project on November 29, 2016.

The Project first began in 2012 when we applied to the NEB for approval of the contract terms and toll structure for shippers moving product through the expanded pipeline. With the tolls and terms set for 20 years, shippers have made significant 15 and 20-year commitments that add up to roughly 80 per cent of the capacity in an expanded system, that will see 890,000 barrels per day transported. 

With firm commitments from shippers for roughly 80 per cent of the capacity in an expanded system, the stage was set for Trans Mountain to file its 16,000-page Facilities Application with the NEB in December 2013. This filing triggered what would ultimately be the lengthiest review process the regulator has seen to date. The NEB named 1,650 participants for the hearing for the Project — including 400 Intervenors and 1,250 Commenters. During the course of the 29-month review, Trans Mountain answered more than 17,000 questions, participated in Aboriginal Oral Hearings and considered evidence filed by Intervenors.

Upon conclusion of the NEB hearing, in January 2016, the Government of Canada introduced five principles to guide its decision-making on major natural resource projects while they undertake a review of environmental assessment processes. For the Project the additional measures included undertaking deeper consultations with Indigenous peoples, assessing the upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Project and appointing a Ministerial Representative to engage communities, including Indigenous communities potentially affected by the project, to seek their views and report back to the Minister of Natural Resources. In order to allow time for these measures the federal government extended the legislated time limit to reach a decision on the Project by four months (to seven months in total). 

In addition to the NEB process, Trans Mountain has conducted a robust public engagement program since the announcement of the Project in 2012 that has included consultation with thousands of individuals to date. Through some 159 open houses and workshops and hundreds of meetings along the pipeline and marine corridors and more than 24,000 points of engagement with Aboriginal communities, Trans Mountain improved and optimized its planning and mitigation measures to address concerns. This engagement will continue throughout the construction and operation of the expansion.

Following final federal approval a number of next steps were triggered. In March 2017, Trans Mountain successfully concluded a supplemental open season for 22,000 barrels per day of capacity on the planned expanded pipeline. At the same time we confirmed all available long-term firm service capacity is contracted on the pipeline with a diverse group of 13 customers. In May 2017, Kinder Morgan made a final investment decision on the Expansion Project after successful completion of an IPO for Kinder Morgan Canada Limited (KML), followed by the securing of $5.5 billion in credit facilities.

With construction beginning in September 2017, and in-service expected by the end of 2019, Trans Mountain is finalizing construction contracts and the actualization of the financial, employment and safety benefits the company has committed to through more than five years of engagement and consultation. To learn more about our regional construction plans click here.