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Trans Mountain to present pipeline variance arguments at hearing with regulator

The Canada Energy Regulator will hear arguments Friday from the company building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on its request for a pipeline variance.

The Trans Mountain pipeline is Canada’s only oil pipeline to the west coast, and its expansion will boost the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day from 300,000 currently.

The project’s completion had been expected in the first quarter of this year, but Trans Mountain Corp. has run into construction difficulties related to hard rock conditions in British Columbia.

The Crown corporation previously requested permission to use a different diameter, wall thickness and coating for a 2.3-kilometre stretch of pipeline, but the regulator denied its request citing safety concerns.

But Trans Mountain Corp. has asked the regulator to reconsider, saying it now believes that without the change, the project could face a worst-case scenario of a two-year delay in completion.

The Canada Energy Regulator will listen to Trans Mountain’s arguments in an oral hearing scheduled for Calgary on Friday morning.

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