Trans Mountain Pipeline: 8 Important Key Points to Know

The Trans Mountain pipeline system carries refined and crude oil from Alberta to Canada and British Columbia.

The Canadian federal government owns the pipeline through Trans mountain corporation, a subsidiary of the federal crown corporation Canadian government of Canada or the CDEV (crown corporation Canada development investment corporation). The CDEV purchased the pipeline route on August 31, 2018, until Houston, a division of Canada, owned the pipeline route.

1. Background

Some large oil deposits were discovered around Leduc, Alberta, on 13 February 1947. The growing oil demand has made the countries like Asia, Canada, and the US think about the pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia so that the oil is easily accessible.

In 1951, the company of Trans Mountain Pipeline also proposed to the Board of Transport Commissioners, and it was created as a particular act of Parliament. In 1952, the proposal was accepted and started construction. In 1953, the oil started to pump out through the pipeline.

The second pipeline was also added parallel to the first pipeline in 2004 by Kinder Morgan. The Pipeline expansion project was completed in the year 2008.

Editorial credit: JHVEPhoto /

In the year 2018, the Trans Mountain Pipeline fully came under the ownership of the Canadian Government from Kinder Morgan.

2. History of Trans Mountain Pipeline

This pipeline has been in use since 1953, and it mainly carries oil. It is the only pipeline which runs between the two areas of British Columbia and Alberta. The length of this pipeline is 1,150 kilometres, and the diameter of this pipeline is 610mm.

The National Energy Board 2013 received the request from Kinder Morgan to expand this pipeline. They requested to build it roughly parallel to the existing pipeline. This project roughly increases the pipeline’s capacity from 3000,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

This pipeline expansion project is very beneficial for the Canadian government. Still, this proposed pipeline expansion project attracted much controversy due to its environmental impact. It has to face many legal challenges from many sides.

The environmentalist protested against this project the First Nations groups. The disputes regarding this intensified in 2018 when British Columbia and Albert engaged in a trade war.

And in the year 2018, Kinder Morgan the Houston-based sold the Trans Mountain pipeline to the Federal government. The federal government purchased it from Kinder Morgan for 4.5 billion.

Trans Mountain pipeline
Editorial credit: Alex Hsuan Tsui /

On the same day when Kinder sold the pipeline to the federal government of Canada, the shareholders approved the sale. Federal Court overturned the Appeal of approval to the nebs for the approval of the pipeline expansion project.

Citing that the government of Canada did not sufficiently consult with the First Nations groups. Then the Canadian government re-initiated the Phase 3 consultation with some indigenous peoples groups impacted by the pipeline, which began on 19 November.

In 2019, On June 18, the GIC (Government in council) was directed by the NEB (national energy board) to issue the certificate allowing for the operation and construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

On 2 July 2020, the supreme court dismissed the appeal of the decision taken prior by the Federal court, thus ending the potential for any challenges from the legal side of the expansion.

3. Trans Mountain Expansion Project

Canadian National Energy Board
Source: xtock/Shutterstock

On 18 June 2013, Kinder Morgan filed an application with the Canadian National Energy Board for Part three of the national energy board to expand the second pipeline under the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The second pipeline runs parallel to the pre-existing pipeline between Burnaby and Edmonton.

The pipeline carries diluted bitumen, also known as dilbit, but the new pipeline needs approximately 12 new pumping stations. The expansion of pipeline running will increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

The total investment in this expansion project cost 7.4 billion, which will complete the connection between Alberta, Strathcona Country, British Columbia and Burnaby.

Morgan had the support of some large petroleum industry customers at that time. Some are listed here Canadian oil sands, Imperial oil ltd, and Canadian Natural Resources.

In 2016, B. C stated it did not support Trans Mountain because Kinder Morgan did not provide enough information about the proposed spill clean and spill prevention program to him. In 2016, on 29 November, the cabinet of Canada federal approved the expansion project.

Editorial credit: arindambanerjee /

They address that the trans mountain expansion will be subject to the 157 binding conditions of the potential indigenous peoples, which will help in improvement in the socio-economic benefits and environmental impacts. They will include project engineering and emergency preparedness.

On 11th January 2017, B.C premier Christy Clark considered British Columbia’s support for the trans mountain expansion by saying that the project would meet her government’s five conditions for approval, including a revenue-sharing agreement worth 1 billion.

A special corp is built, called trans mountain corp, which will help maintain the mountain pipeline. The new route is just parallel to the existing route. And it will surely increase the revenue previously generated by the existing route. It will also increase the pipeline’s capacity by many times.

In 2018 the federal government of Canada bought the trans mountain pipeline from the Houston-based Kinder Morgan for approximately 4.5 billion. The government announced this purchase in May 2018.

In 2020, the three essential insurance companies that previously supported the trans mountain project withdrew their support from the trans mountain project, including Zurich Insurance Group, which was the leading insurer. 

By: Social Soup Social Media/Pexels

In September 2020 interview was conducted or taken by the Canadian press. The CEO of strand mountain corporation “plan Anderson” said that the trans mountain pipeline expansion estimated cost is around 12.6 billion.

He also cited many other challenges in this project, including the construction during the pandemic, the higher demand for fuel resulting in higher costs and the zoning protest against the trans mountain expansion project. As a result, the trans mountain pipeline expansion project requires additional public money investment.

The government also demands support from many companies and non-profit organizations to complete the trans mountain pipeline project. The government also assures Canadians that this will not have any harmful effect on the environment and is eco-friendly, and will surely help improve the socio-economic condition.

4. Debate

The trans mountain pipeline expansion project has faced many criticisms, mainly from environmentalists and First Nation groups. The proposed trans pipelines ship diluted bitumen through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is a susceptible environmental region for everyone.

By: Lynda McFaul/Shutterstock

To reach the end of the terminus, tankers have to pass through the very narrow channel of water shallow from the open sea, still putting the leaks at high risk due to vehicle crashes.

The environmentalists have a deep concern about the heightened risk of an oil spill in the areas of Burrard inlet. This entails the obstruction of about 30% of the inlet and seven-fold increased tanker traffic. According to the stand, earth studies forest ethics. Reducing tanker traffic pipeline is the best possible way.

Those people who support the pipeline say that it will create a vast new job and that it has a significantly lower risk of spilling oil than transporting oil by vehicle.

In 2014 Simon Fraser University claimed that Kinder Morgan Canada overestimated the benefits to the economy of the pipeline expansion. From 2008 to 2018, western Canadians select Canada’s massive benchmark for the heavy crude oil soil at the same average range up to US 17.

Although the federal government approved from the 7 federal courts, challenges were filed by many municipalities of Burnaby and Vancouver and by the Tsleil Waututh Nation, squeamish and cold water first nations.

Photo by Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

In November 2017, minister of NR (natural resources) Jim Carr stated that the federal government had sent one letter supporting the dispute resolution to the national energy board to expedite the future.

BC Minister of Environmental George Heyman blames the federal government for interfering with a review of the project, arguing that it is a highly unusual and highly troubling intrusion on the province’s rights.

On 30th January, the popular B.C government of Canada proposed the restriction on enough amount of diluted bitumen transported can import into Alberta province. The province announced or declared an intent to consult with the local communities and the first nations. Rachel Notley a famous person criticized this proposal as being a crucial stalling tactic.

The B.C government reserved all the right to please its citizens, but at the same time, it even does not have any right or permission to rewrite the constitution. Notley ordered the Liquor Commission and Alberta Gaming to cease to freeze future imports of British Columbia state wine as a sanction over these all moves.

5. Protests

In the month of September 2012, the popular Tsleil-Waututh leaders hoped and right to shut down the trans mountain expansion project. When the Burnaby Mountain project was prepared, the camp against the pipeline project expansion took place in the fantastic Burnaby mountain park to stop and block the pipeline construction crew members, resulting in 100 people being arrested.

Their main protests focused and centred of interest on Morgan’s surveying intelligence. Members of the Tsleil-Wauthuth First important Nations of Burrard inlet and Squamish paddled canoes or workers on the Burrard Inlet waters.

According to the latest news on Trans mountain, the pipeline said that Trudeau’s Trans Mountain pipeline is not profitable. Hence, on March 3, 2022, the Trudeau government is unlikely to recoup its project.

Image From: Shutterstock

6. Secwepemc Opposition

According to the Peoples of an Aboriginal television or TV network, since 2013, the Secwepemc community, first the women and girls, have been defending their land from the proposed and introduced mountain expansion project, asserting that approved the expansion without crossing 518 kilometres.

The defenders themselves, along with some media references, are concerned and totally focused on the damage to their land and the destruction and damage to the water from the pipeline that passes through it. They claim that the Nations band government only has jurisdiction over Canadian strict law on their every reserve. On the other hand, traditional Secwepemc leadership retains their sovereignty over the secwepemcul’ecw.

Image From: Shutterstock

7. Phase 3 Constructions (November 2018)

After the approval from the federal government and federal authorization, the Trans Mountain expansion project is reinitiated in phase 3 consultations. With the lead taken by Natural Resources of Canada and Frank Iacobucci justice.

NEB panel or board heard three weeks of interesting indigenous testimony with one hundred 117 indigenous peoples directly impacted and affected by the pipeline expansion project, which began on 19 November with Calgary, Nanaimo and Victoria.

8. Approval of Governor in Council (GIC)

In June, in the year 2019, the proposed and given construction of the trans mountain expansion pipeline operation was finally approved by the respected Governor in the council. The council directed the national energy board (NEB) to the important certificate of public debt markets.

Photo by Jorge Maya on Unsplash

9. Pending Litigation

As the important court-mandated consultations were carried forward the legal basis of the pipeline expansion is to be checked and tested in the highest court by some stakeholders. Some very famous Indigenous groups have allowed or sanctioned the project for ownership rights, while the others, such as Cold Water Indian Band, have unresolved and unsettled issues.

On July 1st, 2020, the court rejected an again appeal by Squamish, coldwater and Tsleil-Waututh, which challenged federal government approval of the Mountain pipelines.


The Trans Mountain pipeline is one of the pipelines which connects the two countries, Alberta to British Columbia. The new trans mountain pipeline is constructed just parallel to the existing trans mountain pipeline, the new trans mountain pipeline running parallel to the pre-existing trans mountain pipeline. This reduces the tanker traffic on the way from Alberta to British Columbia.

Trans Mountain expansion project increases the pipeline’s capacity. The new project concerns oil transportation, which will help with the power supply. The trans mountain expansion project is under the federal government of Canada.

The new project also includes additional public money invested in it. Also, many non-profit organizations help in completing this project, but the ongoing pandemic is going slow down.

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  • himanirawat816

    Himani is an avid traveler who has visited many beautiful spots worldwide and she loves to write articles related to her visits to guide you to the best and unique spots at amazing destinations. Interestingly, our master traveler also has a a master's in Biotechnology. She loves to read J.K. Rowling and visit popular and offbeat places worldwide. Since she has walked through many best travel secrets, it has helped her in learning the best kept travel secrets, which she shares with our beloved readers. Qualification: Master's in Biotechnology


Himani is an avid traveler who has visited many beautiful spots worldwide and she loves to write articles related to her visits to guide you to the best and unique spots at amazing destinations. Interestingly, our master traveler also has a a master's in Biotechnology. She loves to read J.K. Rowling and visit popular and offbeat places worldwide. Since she has walked through many best travel secrets, it has helped her in learning the best kept travel secrets, which she shares with our beloved readers. Qualification: Master's in Biotechnology

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