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May startup of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion surprises analysts

may startup of trans mountain pipeline expansion surprises analysts

Trans Mountain’s announcement that its expanded oil pipeline would start commercial operations on May 1 has surprised analysts with an earlier-than-expected commencement on the long-delayed $34 billion project.

The federal government-owned company set the date late on Wednesday, having previously said startup would happen in the second quarter.

Canada is the fourth-largest oil producer but output has been capped by full pipelines. Expanding Trans Mountain will increase shipments from the British Columbia coast to Asia and the U.S. West Coast.

The May 1 target is ambitious considering Trans Mountain needs to complete line fill and receive regulatory approvals, said Dylan White, North American crude analyst for Wood Mackenzie, adding that late May or early June is more realistic.

“Pretty well everyone with whom I’ve spoken regarding startup was anticipating June 1,” said Commodity Context analyst Rory Johnston on X.

Trans Mountain ran into numerous problems during construction, most recently installing pipe in hard rock in B.C.

The expansion will nearly triple the flow of crude from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast to 890,000 barrels per day.

Volumes will increase gradually. The pipeline will be highly utilized as early as next year and run full in 2025-26, Trans Mountain said in March.

Western Canada Select (WCS) oil initially traded with little changing from the previous day, a market participant said.

The expanded pipeline raises competition with Enbridge’s Mainline and TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline, which take Canadian crude to U.S. refineries.

Enbridge says it expects Trans Mountain’s effect on its volumes to be modest.

This article is from from cbc.ca (CBC NEWS CANADA)

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