Trans Mountain has received more than 550 kilometres of pipe at stockpile sites in BC and Alberta –that’s over 55 per cent of the total pipe needed to build the Expansion Project.  

The 1000 kilometres of pipe being delivered includes 30-inch, 36-inch and 42-inch diameter pipe. While the majority of the expansion will utilize 36-inch pipe, we will use 42-inch pipe in the Valemount, BC area and 30-inch pipe in the Burnaby Mountain Tunnel.

The pipe arrives in three different nominal lengths of 12 metres, 18 metres and 24 metres. The length requirements are determined by factors such as road design, accessibility, handling of the pipe in rough terrain or on steep slopes and whether turns can physically be done by the trucks transporting the pipe. For example, in the Lower Mainland of BC, the intersections are not wide enough to accommodate 24-metre lengths of pipe. The sharp turns in the mountainous areas also prevent trucks from carrying the longer pipe. 

On average, each piece of pipe weighs between eight and 11 metric tons, depending on length and wall thickness. In total, the Expansion Project will require approximately 318,000 metric tons of new pipe!

The majority of pipe needed for the Project is being produced by EVRAZ North America in Regina, Saskatchewan and Camrose, Alberta. The pipeline material is being sourced from EVRAZ’s recycled metal operations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and the pipe is being manufactured by Canadian members of the United Steelworkers Union.

The remainder of the pipe is being sourced in India and Japan, with the Japanese pipe being used specifically in areas known for seismic activity or ground movements. 

Pipe purchasing decisions consider many factors, including availability of materials, pipe mill capabilities for wall thickness, steel grade and production capacity, as well as logistics, suitability for construction and the facility’s proven history of being able to consistently produce quality pipe.

Pipeline integrity starts with sourcing the materials. The highest quality steel is used and it is manufactured to stringent Canadian Standard Association specifications, which include chemistry and material properties. Once the pipe arrives at one of our stockpile sites, it is stacked three high, which is the industry standard best practice.

The external surface of the pipe is coated with a single layer of fusion bond epoxy powder in order to protect the pipe from corrosive environments in the soil. For road, river and creek crossings, a layer of abrasion resistance overlay is applied over the corrosion coating. When crews are using a trenchless construction method called horizontal directional drilling, the overlay protects against abrasion and mechanical damage when the pipe is being pulled through the crossings.

Trans Mountain has developed a Quality Management Plan for the Expansion Project that includes checks and balances to ensure the quality of the Project’s design, materials and construction. From pipe material specification and fabrication, through to transportation, handling and installation, our quality management processes ensure the pipe fully meets specified requirements.

Safety remains Trans Mountain’s number one priority. We have a comprehensive and robust pipeline safety program that encompasses a broad spectrum of preventive measures to ensure pipeline soundness and reliability, safety of the public and employees, and protection of the environment.