CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. remains on track to complete the Coastal GasLink pipeline by the end of this year without another escalation in construction costs, the Calgary-based company said Friday.
The update is welcome one for TC Energy, which has been under significant scrutiny from investors and credit rating agencies for its heavy debt load as well as for the spiralling costs of the Coastal Gas Link project, a 670-km pipeline spanning northern B.C. that will carry natural gas to the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat.
The company was recently downgraded by both DBRS Morningstar and Moody’s Corp., in part due to the ballooning costs of the project, which has been dogged by unexpected construction issues and rising labour costs.
Over the course of the project, the pipeline’s construction has also attracted opposition and protests from environmentalists and Indigenous leaders. While many Indigenous groups along the project’s pathway support the pipeline, the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs, whose territory the pipeline crosses, do not.
In February, TC Energy raised the estimated project price tag to $14.5 billion, up significantly from a previous estimate of $11.2 billion and more than double the initial cost estimate of $6.2 billion.
At the time, the company said it was still hoping to complete the pipeline by the end of 2023, but warned that if it takes longer and construction extends well into 2024, it could add an additional $1.2 billion to the project’s costs.
In the spring, the B.C. government issued a handful of stop-work orders on portions of the project due to sediment control and erosion problems.
But on Friday, TC Energy executive vice-president Bevin Wirzba said Coastal GasLink is managing the challenges and the project is more than 90 per cent finished. He said the company is maintaining its previously announced completion target and most recent cost estimate.
“We’ve had our share of really complex and risky parts of the project to accomplish, and I’m really proud that the team has delivered upon all of them,” Wirzba said, on a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings.
“The remaining scope is not without execution risk, but we’ve been able to navigate these challenges week by week . . . We have all the plans in place to deliver and finish strong in the year-end.”
Completing Coastal GasLink on time is a crucial piece in what is TC Energy’s overall strategic plan to reduce its debtload and free up opportunities for growth.
On Thursday, the company announced its plans to split into two separate companies by spinning off its crude oil pipelines business.
Having two separate companies — one focused on crude oil transport, and one focused on natural gas and low-carbon forms of energy — will help TC Energy attract new investors and pursue a wider range of growth opportunities, CEO François Poirier said.
On Monday, TC Energy also announced it would sell off a 40 per cent stake in its Columbia Gas Transmission and Columbia Gulf Transmission systems to New York City-based Global Infrastructure Partners for $5.2 billion.
Poirier said he hopes to achieve an additional $3 billion in divestitures between now and the end of 2024, adding the funds will be used to pay down debt and clear the way for the growth of the two newly separated companies.
TC Energy’s reported a $250 million profit in the second quarter, down from $889 million a year earlier.
The company’s share price was down more than 5 per cent, at $44.84, as of midday trading Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)
Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press
- 0062 TED_EPAC_Technology_300062 TED_EPAC_Technology_30
- 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
- 0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building0060 Arizona Lithium Lease building
- 0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator0059 Southeast College Heavy Equipment Operator
- 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
- 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
- 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
- 0015 Latus Viro0015 Latus Viro
- 0052 Predator Inspections0052 Predator Inspections
- 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
- 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
- 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
- 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
- 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
- 0022 Grimes winter hiring
- 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
- 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
- 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
- 0006 JK Junior