Resource development is one of Canada’s time-tested creators of employment and wealth. A modern, federally regulated project such as the $5.4 billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion is a good example of this.
While Canada is a world leader in pipeline technology, we’re limited to selling nearly all our oil into a glutted midwest United States market. Trans Mountain wants to expand capacity of a pipeline that has operated successfully between Edmonton and Burnaby for 60 years – and get Canadian oil to higher paying markets.
The project creates $18.5 billion in economic benefits improving Canada’s balance of trade, and supporting health care and education. It provides 108,000 person-years of employment including skilled and semi-skilled labor, engineering, manu-facturing, financial services, and transportation. During construction, workers in communities along the project route will spend $560 million on services including accommodation and food.
Burnaby, home to the western terminal for the pipeline, can expect total municipal tax pay-ments of at least $264 million over 20 years of operations. Trans Mountain is already Burnaby’s third-largest taxpayer. New revenue each year could pay for 132 extra firefighters, or the full cost of garbage collection.
For contractors and workers, this project can be one of the important segments of a long, well-paid career in the construction industry. For Canada, it’s a reminder that the resource industry creates opportunities that are essential to the nation’s economic health.
Since 1953, the Trans Mountain Pipeline system has been safely and efficiently providing the only West Coast pipeline access for Canadian oil products. The pipeline has been adapted over the years to meet evolving needs. A proposed expansion will, if approved, create a twinned pipeline that would increase the capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000.
Key sectors that would see supply-chain effect. (% share of supply-chain employment effects)
“We must continue to say yes to responsible resource development. Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will help to provide our province with the unprecedented economic growth.”
– Philip Hochstein, President of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.
“Our project can create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in new government revenue,
without compromising our commitment to social responsibility and environmental protection.”
– Ian Anderson, President of Kinder Morgan Canada
This chart shows where the impact of the TMEP project will be felt across Canada. BC is the biggest winner in jobs and increased GDP. Where Alberta will see its benefits rise is in the fiscal impacts and netbacks from oil extraction (i.e., royalties, cost to produce and process oil). The rest of Canada also sees benefits, though on a smaller scale.
Canada’s experience with pipelines dates back to 1853. The discovery of abundant oil and natural gas in the 1950s triggered a boom in pipeline construction and energy production in Western Canada. Today, oil and gas exports are a mainstay of the national economy, and Canada is a world leader in pipeline technology.
• Technical pipeline standards are part of federal and provincial law, and are continually updated
• Canada is a world leader in pipeline technology, developing the world’s first standard for corrosion coatings in the 1980s
• Pipeline inspection tools developed in Canada are used worldwide to look for things such as cracks, or shifting ground
• Kinder Morgan and other members of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association spent more than $1.4 billion last year on pipeline safety
The Trans Mountain Expansion Project crosses up to 500 rivers and other water bodies, eight provincial parks, up to 15 First Nations Reserves and numerous traditional aboriginal territories. It’s fair to wonder what safety features are in place.
• Modern, high-toughness steels that resist corrosion
• Heavier pipeline walls at key locations
• Non-destructive testing of all welds
• Inspection and cleaning modules that travel through the inside of the pipeline
• High-performance coatings
• Alarms to alert control-centre operators of an issue