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Trans Mountain price tag report: project still viable?

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World Pipelines,

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is getting more expensive, but Kinder Morgan, the company planning to build it, says the economic case for the project remains strong.

Regulatory application for the pipeline extension was filed in December 2013, with a cost of CAN$5.4 billion. However, figures released last month in a conference call with investors put the new project cost at CAN$6.8 billion.

Foreign exchange swings are cited as a factor behind the increase, as are scope changes to the project and project delays.

Trans Mountain spokeswoman Ali Hounsell said the company will be able to pin down a more accurate figure once it knows precisely what conditions may be attached to a federal permit if it’s approved.

The National Energy Board has already announced 145 draft conditions, which the company has said are achievable.

“It’s absolutely still a viable project. We’re confident that our shippers are still very much interested and that this pipeline capacity that we’re proposing is in high demand,” she said.

The expansion project would nearly triple the pipeline’s capacity to 890 000 bpd, enabling oilsands crude to be shipped to lucrative Asian markets.

The National Energy Board expects to make a recommendation to the federal government by May 2016.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: Global NewsCBC

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