Trans Mountain considers how to clear ‘obstruction’ causing further construction delay

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The company building the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is still working to find a solution to its latest unexpected construction challenge in British Columbia.

The state-owned Trans Mountain Corp. is removing the section of pipe it was trying to fit into the hole drilled for it in the Fraser Valley between Hope and Chilliwack.

The company had used an engineering technique called horizontal directional drilling for that section, but announced Monday that it had encountered what it called “technical issues.”

On Wednesday, a company spokesperson said the problems were related to an obstruction discovered when trying to pull the pipe into the hole, and that it was currently evaluating options for removing it.

The Trans Mountain pipeline is Canada’s only pipeline to the West Coast and its expansion will increase the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day, from the current 300,000 b/d.

But the company is racing against time as it faces various difficulties related to hard rock and difficult terrain. The latest challenges are expected to push the pipeline’s planned in-service date from the first to the second quarter of this year.

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