Expanded pipeline takes a tiny step
A plan to expand a major pipeline that runs through Kamloops has inched ever closer to becoming a reality.
Kinder Morgan, the oil-shipping and energy giant behind the expansion, said it’s encouraged by interest in the market and could have a decision to proceed with the plan by the end of March.
If the company decides to go ahead with the plan, Kinder Morgan spokeswoman Lexa Hobenshield said it would kick off likely two years of public consultation with communities along the pipeline.
The consultation would include a wide range of groups, including the City of Kamloops itself.
“We look forward to that dialogue during those two years,” Hobenshield said.
The basic plan is for Kinder Morgan to expand the 1,150-kilometre pipeline, which transports petroleum from Edmonton through Kamloops to a Burnaby terminal.
Part of the expansion would take place in Kamloops, including work on the existing pipeline right-of-way and the addition of pump stations.
A full expansion would mean a twinning of the entire line, or doubling capacity to 600,000 barrels of oil.
The Kamloops terminal, which is also a receiving site for other Kinder Morgan products from northeastern B.C. bound for the west coast, contains two storage tanks with an overall volume of 144,000 barrels.
The terminal is located at the west end of Kamloops just off Highway 5.
Last fall, Kinder Morgan embarked on what is called an open-season process, in which the company puts out terms for expansion to customers, who then sign up for bids or space on the expansion.
The process ended this month.
But, it could still be years before more oil is pumping through the pipes in Kamloops.
At the end of the two-year consultation, the company would be required to file an application to National Energy Board for approval.
That would be followed by a comprehensive review by the interested government agencies before any approval.
Meantime, Hobenshield noted the company in the coming weeks will be developing the initial project design.
In 2009, Kinder Morgan was charged, along with several other companies, under federal and provincial environmental legislation related to a July 2007 North Burnaby pipeline rupture.
The rupture occurred when a contractor installing a new storm-sewer line for the City of Burnaby punctured the pipeline with an excavator.
The company is fighting the charges.
The incident led to the release of 234,000 litres of crude oil, much of it into Burrard Inlet, of which 210,000 litres were recovered.
A Transportation Safety Board investigation determined the incident was caused by poor communication between the parties, out-of-date maps and federal regulations not being followed.