Costs for TMX continue to spiral out of control

Friday February 18, 2022

Construction costs tops $21 billion as pipeline is delayed again

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Trans Mountain Corporation announced today that the projected cost of building the Trans Mountain Pipeline increased from $12.6 to $21.4 billion. This is the second time projected construction costs increase exponentially in two years. The mechanical completion date for the pipeline was also pushed back from late 2022 to late 2023, meaning that the project is now delayed by four years.  

The projected cost of building the Trans Mountain Expansion has steadily increased since 2014, when Kinder Morgan first unveiled the project with an estimated cost of $5.4 billion. In 2017, they revised that number upwards to $7.4 billion, before revising it again a year later to $9.6 billion in regulatory filings related to the sale of the pipeline to the Canadian Government. Then in February of 2020 Trans Mountain CEO Ian Anderson announced the estimated cost had risen again to $12.6 billion. 

“The costs of this pipeline have now more than doubled since Justin Trudeau made the decision to buy Trans Mountain,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “There is no reason to believe that this trend of rising costs and delays will not continue, as long as the government continues to allow this boondoggle to grow.” 

Last October, a poll from Abacus Data revealed that 45 per cent of Canadians do not think the federal government should spend any more money on the Trans Mountain pipeline, and a further 14 per cent think they should not spend more than the current $12.6 billion in projected construction costs

report from the Pembina Institute found that climate emissions from a barrel of tar sands are 70 per cent above the global average, confirming that the tar sands are one of the dirtiest, highest carbon sources of oil on the planet. Emissions from oil and gas production are one of the primary reasons Canada cannot meet its Paris commitments. These emissions now represent the largest and fastest growing source of emissions in Canada.

“Ironically, the latest delays were caused in large part by the recent flooding in B.C., which has been linked to climate change,” said Biggs. “This should be a wake up call for the Liberal government—this project is both at risk from and a threat to the climate, and a reminder that climate leaders don’t build pipelines.”

One of the key factors containing the growth of the tar sands and the associated climate emissions is a lack of pipeline capacity. This is why the fate of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion – which would ship 590,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude – is critical to the fight to limit the impacts of climate change.

If this pipeline goes into operation, climate scientists estimate that upstream emissions in Alberta will go up by 21 - 27 Mt Co2e a year and downstream emissions from refining and burning the oil will add a further 71.1 Mt Co2e annually. This is why Dr. Mark Jaccard, who is an IPCC lead author and the author of the latter study concluded “oil sands expansion is inconsistent with preventing warming greater than 2°C” which is the minimum threshold to maintain a safe climate. If Canada is truly committed to being a climate leader, the federal government must immediately cancel building this pipeline and invest in cleaner renewable energy solutions. 

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Media contacts: 

Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, canadamedia@stand.earth, +1 604 757 7279 (Pacific Time)