TransCanada ups Energy East pipeline cost estimate by 30 percent

Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:27pm EST
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CALGARY, Alberta Dec 17 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp increased the estimated cost of its Energy East crude oil pipeline by 30 percent to C$15.7 billion on Thursday as it filed an amendment to its application with Canadian regulators.

The Calgary-based pipeline company said changes to the project schedule and scope had bumped up the capital cost of the proposed 1.1 million barrel per day pipeline that will carry western Canadian crude to the Atlantic coast.

Earlier this year TransCanada scrapped plans to build two marine exports terminals for Energy East after running into fierce environmental opposition in Quebec. Instead the company will now only build one terminal at the pipeline's terminus in St. John, New Brunswick.

"This amended filing has been shaped by direct, on-the-ground input from Canadians across the country," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer.

TransCanada has made 700 route changes to the project, expected to start up in 2020.

The amended filing caps a turbulent year for Canada's second-largest pipeline company, which had its controversial Keystone XL pipeline to the United States rejected by President Barack Obama in November after a seven-year delay.

Environmental groups warned the project increased the risk of oil spills in areas like the Bay of Fundy off the coast of New Brunswick and urged the Canadian government to reform the regulatory approval process for pipelines.

"TransCanada's revised application would see a massive amount of tar sands oil shipped daily through the most productive and biodiverse waters on the East Coast," said Joshua Axelrod, a policy analyst with the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

TransCanada shares were last down 2 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange at C$47.23. (Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)