Canada regulator orders Trans Mountain to address deficiencies after B.C. flooding

A pipe yard servicing government-owned oil pipeline operator Trans Mountain is seen in Kamloops

By Ismail Shakil and Nia Williams

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has ordered the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to address environmental deficiencies and noncompliances found following flooding near Abbotsford, British Columbia, the regulator said on Thursday.

CER officers conducted an inspection and found that Trans Mountain was not properly maintaining a watercourse isolation, wildlife fencing, soil coverings, and dewatering pump and sump locations, the CER said in a statement.

The order was issued on Jan. 31 and requires Trans Mountain to take a number of measures to address the problems, including investigating the root cause and implementing a water management plan for that section of pipeline.

"We will continue to follow up with the company to ensure it complies with the Inspection Officer Order. Once the company sufficiently addresses the requirements list above, the order will be lifted," the CER said.

Once complete, the Trans Mountain expansion will nearly treble the capacity of an existing pipeline shipping crude from Alberta to Canada's Pacific Coast to 890,000 barrels per day.

But the C$30.9 billion ($22.95 billion) project, owned by the Canadian government, has struggled with years of delay and ballooning costs, as well as a number of stop-work orders for environmental issues.

In November the CER ordered Trans Mountain to halt work for nearly two weeks after discovering noncompliances in a wetland area near Abbotsford, and in 2021 construction was stopped for four months to protect hummingbird nests along a one-kilometer section of its route.

Trans Mountain is targeting a second-quarter 2024 start date for the expanded pipeline.

($1 = 1.3465 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Nia Williams in British Columbia and Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)