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Tripling capacity in a challenging environment

The underground infrastructure that supports oil and gas pipelines is often located in challenging environments.

Opportunity

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline system,
created in 1953 and 1954, carries oil between
Edmonton, Alberta, and Burnaby, British Columbia.

A major upgrade to the system, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project will provide more than 600 miles (966 kilometers) of new buried pipelines, new or modified pump stations and tanks, and three new berths at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

Solution

As part of a joint venture with Hatch, Mott MacDonald was retained as the designer for 65 miles (105 kilometers) of infrastructure at the downstream end of the route, including a proposed tunnel through Burnaby Mountain that would avoid disruptions to the Westridge neighborhood.

Mott MacDonald conducted an engineering analysis, demonstrating that tunneling could be used to make a path for the pipeline.

Outcome

The new pipeline will almost triple the current capacity, moving about 900,000 barrels of oil per day. The proposed tunnel would allow the new pipeline, as well as the existing pipeline (pending a separate regulatory application), to be routed through the mountain without disturbing the natural environment or mobilizing an already slide-prone mountainside.

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