Kinder Morgan oil storage plan for Burnaby criticized
Plan before NEB to expand existing pipeline capacity reroutes through sensitive areas
Kinder Morgan is rerouting and expanding the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline, even as it faces concerns in Burnaby, B.C. about how it will store the oil that reaches the end of the line.
The company is in the midst of a National Energy Board review of a $5.4-billion expansion of the pipeline, an Edmonton-to-Vancouver oil pipeline that has existed for 60 years.
Most of the new pipeline would be built in the existing right of way, but the company has proposed changes to the route that would take the new pipeline through environmental sensitive areas such as North Thompson River Provincial Park, Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area and Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area and McQueen Creek Ecological Reserve.
The routing change included in a May 15 NEB filing includes boring a hole through Burnaby Mountain, the company has announced.
Kinder Morgan's proposal includes plans to increase the daily capacity of its pipeline from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day, by running a second pipeline beside the existing line.
Oil tank farm in Burnaby a concern
That means it will need more storage capacity at Burnaby, B.C., where it would load oil onto tankers for overseas markets.
A proposal to build 14 new tanks at its tank farm in the community has run afoul of local firefighters, who fear increasing the tank capacity could set up conditions for a disaster if one of the tanks catches fire.
There are currently 13 tanks in Burnaby, and the Burnaby Fire Department says there is an elementary school nearby.
NEB hearings into the proposal begin in August. If approved, construction could begin as early as next year.
Although that proposal is in the midst of a review, Kinder Morgan is designing its proposal with the idea that it could increase pipeline capacity to 1.13 billion barrels a day.
A Kinder Morgan spokesman said line 2 — the new line being built — would have a "theoretical expanded capacity" of 780,000 barrels per day.
"Trans Mountain has not made any assessment if it is possible or practical to transport expanded volumes," the company said in an email statement.
The revised plan would require the addition of more pumping capacity and some new pipeline segments, as well as a fresh round of regulatory reviews.