Line fill on the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion will start in the first quarter of 2024 and take about six to seven weeks to complete, the Canadian government-owned corporation building the project said on Friday.
Line fill will require about 4.5 million barrels of oil, Trans Mountain Corp said, adding that the expansion project remains on track to start commercial operations near the end of the first quarter.
Line fill involves filling the length of the expanded pipeline with oil before crude deliveries start. The exact date of line fill is being carefully watched by oil market traders as it will boost demand and should raise prices for Canadian crude.
The Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) will nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline running from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast to 890,000 barrels per day, but the C$30.9 billion ($22.59 billion) project has struggled with years of regulatory delay and massive cost overruns.
It was bought by the Canadian government in 2018 to ensure the expansion got built.
Once operational, TMX will open up new markets for Canadian crude on the U.S. West Coast and Asia.
(Reporting by Nia Williams in British Columbia; Editing by Rod Nickel)