Trudeau’s Long-Delayed Oil Pipeline Seeks First Crude Deliveries

(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s biggest new oil pipeline in more than a decade will begin filling with crude within weeks, according to MEG Energy Corp.

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The government-owned Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline that connects the oil fields of Alberta to the Pacific Coast is seeking 2.1 million barrels for April and an equal amount a month later, MEG Chief Executive Officer Derek Evans said during a conference call on Friday.

Those barrels will be used as so-called line fill, which is the oil initially pumped into a conduit to bring it up to pressure so shipments can begin to flow. An email seeking comment from Trans Mountain wasn’t immediately returned.

TMX, as the project is known, will nearly tripled the capacity of the sole Alberta-to-the-coast pipeline system 890,000 barrels a day, allowing Canadian companies to sell more crude to Asia and the US West Coast.

Heavy Western Canadian Select’s discount to West Texas Intermediate crude has been narrowing ahead of the start up, shrinking 75 cents to $16 a barrel on Friday, according to a person familiar with the price.

TMX’s initially 2017 start-up target faced repeated delays, cost overruns, construction mishaps and regulatory hurdles. The C$34 billion ($25 billion) project cost is more than six times the original estimate.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bought Trans Mountain in 2018 from Kinder Morgan Inc. to save the project from cancellation.

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