FAQ: the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

First of all, who is Kinder Morgan?

Kinder Morgan is the third largest energy company in North America. Currently, it owns more than 80,000 miles of pipeline that transport natural gas, refined oil, crude oil and many other products. It also have has terminals where they store these fuels.

What is the proposed plan for Burnaby Mountain?

Kinder Morgan wants to twin an existing pipeline that runs from Strathcona County, Alberta, to Burnaby, B.C. This would increase capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to over 890,000 barrels per day. This would also increase the number of storage tanks and the number of ships that will have to cross the Burrard Inlet with these fuels.

How much will this cost?

It will cost an estimated $5.4 billion to complete.

Will the pipeline create jobs?

Yes, the pipeline twinning would create 50 permanent jobs, as well as many other jobs while the pipeline is being built.

Can Burnaby Mountain meet the demands of the proposed pipeline?

Yes. A team from BGC engineering has been working to find out of the mountain could support the pipeline and they found that “the strength is relatively high, so it’s quite good and stable,” according to Alex Baumgard, Senior Geotechnical Engineer with BGC Engineering. “”We’re quite confident the strength and condition of the rock we’re finding is going to prove that we have a feasible solution for one of the trenchless options we’re proposing.”

Are oil spills common?

Over the last five years, there are on average 14.8 major spills a year worldwide. Since 2005, there have been five leaks or spills on the pipeline Kinder Morgan wants to twin.

How much would it cost if a spill occurred and who would pay for it?

If a major spill were to occur in the Burrard Inlet, it would cost roughly $40 billion to fix all the damage it would cause. These damages include the effects it would have on the water, fishing, tourism and clean-up costs. After oil is put on a ship, the energy company is no longer liable and more often than not it is ship owners and taxpayers who end up paying for spills.

Do we have the resources for an effective spill clean-up?

Not at the moment. The government is working on improving contingency plans to effectively clean up major spills, but at the moment we would not be able to effectively clean one up.

Where does the oil go?

According to Kinder Morgan:

  • 25 per cent of the oil is refined and used in BC.
  • 4 per cent of the oil stays in Kamloops.
  • 44 per cent is transported to Washington State and
  • 27 per cent percent is loaded onto tankers for shipment.

How many oil sands tankers will now leave BC?

In 2012, there was on average 60 tankers that left the Port of Vancouver. If the expansion of the pipeline goes through, that number will jump to 408 on average.

Has Kinder Morgan applied to the National Energy Board for this pipeline, and when will it begin construction?

Yes, Kinder Morgan has applied to the NEG. Currently the NEG is conducting a review and gauging whether or not the expansion will take place. If the expansion comes to fruition, Kinder Morgan would start construction in 2016 and be completeled by 2017.

Who has the final say on whether the pipeline is built?

The NEG recommends whether the pipeline is safe to build and, if it does, then Kinder Morgan can start construction. The final say, however, belongs to the federal government. Whatever happens, the federal government can override the decision.

1 Comment

  • Daniella Javier
    Reply December 9, 2014

    Daniella Javier

    I’m a little concerned that the government doesn’t have the resources to clean up a spill if something happened right now. That’s definitely something that they need to plan a.s.a.p. The pipeline may cost $5.4 billion, but the repairs would cost $40 billion, so hopefully they come up with a good plan. I can see why there’s been a big debate on this topic.

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