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Energy East pipeline costs jump 30%, as TransCanada makes 700 tweaks to plan

TransCanada Corp CEO Russ Girling first announced the project in 2013.

CALGARY – Building the Energy East pipeline will cost almost $4 billion more than expected, the result of hundreds of tweaks to the project’s design and an expanded terminal in Saint John, N.B.

TransCanada Corp. announced Thursday that it had filed an amendment to the National Energy Board for the Alberta-to-New Brunswick project, which included 700 changes to the project’s route and a new capital cost of $15.7 billion — a 30 per cent increase from the initial cost estimate of $12 billion.

One of the biggest changes to the project’s design is the removal of a marine terminal at Cacouna, Que. over fears its construction would increase in tanker traffic and damage beluga whale habitat.

In place of the Cacouna facility, documents filed with the NEB show TransCanada plans to expand its marine terminal and oil storage capacity in Saint John, along with its joint-venture partner Irving Oil Ltd.

TransCanada Corp

“With removal of the Cacouna facilities from the project scope, the design of the Canaport Energy East marine terminal, a total of 22 oil storage tanks will be installed at the Saint John tank terminal,” the company said in its filing to the national regulator.

The larger storage tanks will allow TransCanada to store 13.2 million barrels of oil at the terminal in Saint John, where the amended project will also include a second system for loading additional ships.

Irving Oil, which owns a large oil refinery in Saint John, has been a strong supporter of Energy East, which would carry 1.1 million barrels of Western Canadian oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Quebec and the Irivng facility in New Brunswick.

“Canadians want assurances this project does not come at the expense of safety and the environment – and this application shows we can do that,” TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling said in a release. “We are listening and acting on what we have heard.”

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